When Piotr Lomacki was 6-years-old, his father placed a tennis racket in his hand and took him to a court in his hometown of Warsaw, Poland. It was all for fun at first, but soon life on the court became more serious for Lomacki.
Today, the sophomore is a starter on the men’s tennis team and currently the No. 23 ranked player in the United States.
Lomacki had a full schedule when he was just 9, going from private tennis lessons to the soccer field.
“I was extremely busy as a kid. I remember going from tennis practice to soccer practice, and I would have to change in the car because it was one right after the other,” Lomacki said.
At the age of 12, Lomacki decided to focus on only one sport.
“I stopped playing soccer because I realized it was time to choose,” he said. “I realized I was better at tennis and I wanted to focus my strength and time toward tennis.”
Lomacki became increasingly involved in private lessons and tournaments. He was ranked the “best 12-year-old tennis player” in Poland after winning the Polish national tennis tournament. He lost in the finals for the best 14-year-old but went on to win best 16-year-old two years later.
When Lomacki was 16, he started playing in world tournaments. He was the No. 110 ranked tennis player in the world in the under 18-year-old category. It was then that he got an email from Miami’s Head Coach Mario Rincon saying that he would fly to Warsaw to watch Lomacki play in the second round of the National Polish tournament.
While UM’s coach watched the match, Lomacki beat his opponent an impressive 6-1, 6-1. Following the match, Rincon offered him a full ride to Miami. Lomacki also received offers from Mississippi State and Pepperdine.
Lomacki accepted UM’s offer because he believed that Miami was the best place to help him on his road to becoming a professional tennis player, his ultimate goal. Lomacki is in the business school, but says that tennis comes first.
“Tennis is my priority,” he said. “Education is my insurance. It is my backup in case trying to go professional doesn’t work out.”
Lomacki lets his play do the talking on match days, but in practice, Lomacki is the comedian of the team, according to teammate Nile Clark.
“He’s focused on the court, so he stays quiet,” Clark said. “In practice, we look to him to make us laugh. He is always smiling and he enjoys being the outgoing guy on the team, but he works hard.”
Lomacki said that the feeling of winning after long matches that can last three or four hours keeps him motivated.
“Cramping up, becoming dehydrated, tired, pushed to your limits and still coming out with a win is the best feeling in the world,” he said. “You cannot buy those memories. This is why I practice five hours a day. It is what drives me to compete day in and day out.”