If Nick Borchenko’s grandfather offers you a trip to See’s Candies, don’t believe him. It’s a ploy to get you on the tennis court, practicing the game against your will and molding you into an elite tennis player. That’s how Borchenko got to Loyola Marymount University, under the watchful eye of his grandfather, who decided after a visit to Indian Wells that his grandson was suited for a future on tennis. “I’m gonna make you a pro,” he said.
And that’s why the youngster from Los Angeles often found himself padlocked inside the tennis courts at Fairfax High School, with no escape until he’d focused on developing his skills to the contentment of his granddad. Now, the 6’6” former basketball player and red shirt freshman at LMU is a prominent member of the university’s Men’s Tennis squad, with imposing physical attributes, a killer serve, and big game abilities that fit rather nicely into LMU’s game plan.
“He’s got what a coach looks for,” says Tom Lloyd, Loyola Marymount’s head coach, who actively recruited Borchenko not just due to his on court ability, but also based on his ability to fit the LMU culture of developing process, his strong family upbringing, and his ability to juggle the demands of student and athlete.
Intent on an athletic career in the game, Borchenko studies Communications while building his tennis resume, and he continues to thrive in the game he picked up around age 14. “Coaches have told me I have potential,” Borchenko says. “If they see it, I can see it in myself, too.”
“I’ve talked to Taylor (Fritz), (Stefan) Koslov, and (Frances) Tiafoe,” he says, noting an admiration of their ability to do what they love, and get paid for it. Like them, Borchenko hopes that “tennis will be my life” after college.
If that’s the case, those trips to See’s Candies will have paid off, with grandpa to thank.
LMU faces off against New Mexico on Sunday, February 12 in San Luis Obispo, 10am. Visit the team website here.