Tennis' Nisker brings pro experience

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Andrew Nisker

Jonas Hrebeniuk

NOT BY THE 'NISKERS' ON MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN. Former NCAA Division I tennis star Andrew Nisker brings ATP experience to the Western Mustangs squad.

What do Vanderbilt, the ATP and the Western Mustangs have in common? Former NCAA and professional tennis player Andrew Nisker, who now anchors Western’s varsity team.

Mustangs women’s tennis coach and University Tennis Centre owner Mike Richards emphasizes Nisker’s success.

“He was a good junior in Ontario,” Richards says. “And did pretty well nationally.”

Nisker’s early success in the sport earned him a scholarship to Vanderbilt University, a Division-I NCAA school in Nashville, Tennessee. Nisker admits competing at such a high level was an uphill battle with so many talented people in the program.

“When I started at Vanderbilt, there was a whole world of collegiate tennis that’s at an extremely high level that nobody knows existed,” Nisker says. “I struggled in the first few years and there was a lot of pressure because there aren’t that many scholarships, so you have to win your matches.”

Nisker quickly learned Canadian success doesn’t equate to immediate NCAA success.

“There was definitely a pecking order,” Nisker says. “You think because you’re successful in Canada you’re going somewhere, because the pool is so small in Canada.”

Much like in his early days in the sport, Nisker took time honing his craft; he spent countless hours training during the offseason before his junior year.

Nisker continued on the road to success during his junior season, but it was in his senior year he felt his game evolve.

“I was really playing top-level collegiate tennis and beating a lot of good players,” he says.

In 2000, Nisker was selected to the first team All-Southeastern Conference team after capturing the SEC singles championship.

Feeling confident in his skills, Nisker jumped to the pros, where he remained for roughly three years.

Personal highlights included a 2002 Rogers Cup title with doubles partner Fred Dancevic and spots on Canada’s 2002 Davis Cup and 2003 Pan American Games rosters.

Though he wanted to play on the singles tour, Nisker found his true success on the doubles circuit.

“I did really well in doubles and started to focus a little more on that after a year,” Nisker says. “I got into some bigger tournaments and started to feel that I belonged.”

Nisker then took time off from the circuit to pursue his law degree at Western.

At Western, Nisker crossed paths with his old coach, Mustangs men’s tennis coach Anthony Glavanic. Nisker decided to join a relatively young team and help build it from the ground up.

Nisker credits his joining the team to Glavanic and his love for the game.

“Anthony always had an uncanny ability to match working hard and having fun,” he says. “He helps people enjoy tennis a lot more outside of what our tennis season is, so they continue to play.”

Glavanic says Nisker contributed on many levels.

“On and off the court, he’s a great,” he says. “Andrew offers that professional feel the team needs.”

Nisker brought tremendous experience to Western. With talented players like Justin Cates and Rob Schmidt leading the team, the Mustangs won three Ontario University Athletics championships in four years.

Richards says a player like Nisker is a rare find.

“The truth probably is that he’s taken the sport to the highest level,” Richards says. “Any coach would dream to have a guy like that show up.”

Though becoming less involved in the sport’s competitive aspect, Nisker, now 28, demonstrates poise and exudes confidence only attainable by playing at a level most athletes only dream of.

“You have to believe that you belong there, and you’ll be a lot more successful and learn about respect,” Nisker says. “But first, you have to believe in yourself.”

From his work ethic to his approach to the game, it’s no wonder the Mustangs have thrived with Nisker as their anchor.

“I’d like to be known as someone who went out there and competed hard and wasn’t afraid to put it on line.”

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