Junior UM tennis player Eric Hechtman is dominating both on and off the court. Our Chris Hamilton served up some questions to the former Big East All-Tournament player.
The Hurricane: How big was the win over N.C. State last Friday?
Eric Hechtman: We were really down because we’ve had a lot of 4-3 losses in the past, and it was such a good feeling to win 4-3. I’ve never seen our coach so happy.
TH: You are a local guy. How important was it to stay in Miami and play for UM?
EH: It was the main reason I came here. Local fan base and I have the family here. Nothing better than playing in the 3-0-5.
TH: Why don’t guys grunt like women do when they hit the ball?
EH: It’s kind of like a girl thing. Josh [Cohen] hits like a girl [laughs]. I’m just joking. There’s really no need to grunt. When someone shoots a free throw they don’t go “uggghhhh.”
TH: You finished in the top one percent of your class in high school. How important is it to be a student-athlete?
EH: Probably 99 percent of students don’t go pro, right? You have to make some money somehow. Academics are just another step towards getting a job.
TH: Since you are a smart guy, which is a better feeling: acing a serve or acing a test?
EH: Acing a serve, for sure. Everyone has aced a test, but not everyone can hit an ace on the tennis court.
TH: How fast do you serve?
EH: I don’t know [laughs]. They would have to get a radar gun out here for me to know.
TH: Was there ever a time when you thought about quitting tennis?
EH: No. It’s just part of my life. It’s going to be different once I’m done but I’ve just been used to it ever since I was eight.
TH: Does any trash talking go on during the matches?
EH: Oh yeah, tons of trash talking. It’s part of college tennis; it’s part of sports. You have to get into your opponents head.
TH: Do you ever heckle from the stands then too?
EH: Last year at Wake Forest a couple guys from their tennis team and a few from their football team were throwing woodchips at Josh. We were really jawing back and forth with them. Not every match is like that, but I’d say 90 percent are.
TH: Have you ever played an opponent you knew you had no chance of beating?
EH: No. I wouldn’t step on the court if I had no chance. I might as well just get some extra sleep.
TH: Do you ever feel overshadowed by the success of the women’s team?
EH: No. It’s good for them that they are doing well. I wish them the best and hopefully we’ll start doing as good as they are.
TH: What are you goals for the rest of the season?
EH: Somehow make it to NCAAs. I think it’s possible. We’ve had some close losses; it’s time we get some close wins.
Chris Hamilton can be contacted at email@example.com.