Hechtman overcomes tragedy to shine for Hurricanes

Eric Hechtman is a person who loves his tennis “crazy,” but still considers the sports to be a great way to relieve stress.

“When you sit in class all day you can’t wait to come out here…it brings out the competitive nature,” Hechtman said. “The reason why I chose to play college tennis is because I like the crazy atmosphere. I mean, that’s what makes it so much fun.”

Hechtman said that he has enjoyed his experience here but acknowledges the rigors of being an undergraduate student-athlete.

“Basically, after an entire day of school, it’s time for practice, and then studying,” he said. “It’s just hard to stay focused.”

Hechtman said that what gets him through the long days is reminiscing about the compelling advice he used to receive from his deceased mother.

“We are not going to be satisfied with being 8-0. We want to just keep the fire and the hunger going.” – ERIC HECHTMAN, Sophomore tennis player

“She passed away a little bit ago and she was just there for me through anything,” he said. “Basically, you know, when you lose someone you can either go down or go up.”

Hechtman also recognizes, now that his mother is gone, the monumental influence that she had on his life.

“Of course you’re going to be down right away but you think of everything that they tried to mold you into being and try to live for them,” he said.

Hechtman has been using this mentality as fuel for his emotional engine. He is particularly anxious about the outcome of the rest of the season for his team, which has an unprecedented record of 8-0. The undefeated streak is a major focus of his aspirations for the season.

“It’s a tough goal but I would like us to stay undefeated,” Hechtman said. “Our main goal coming into the season was to win the Big East. I think seeing what we’ve done so far has changed our main goal to hosting the Regionals and advancing into the Sweet 16.”

This change of focus for the season has not come without a price. He said that the team’s success could be attributed to the hard work and self-discipline they practice on a day-to-day basis.

“We’ve been busting our ass…training every single day, making sure there are no extra problems outside the court,” he said.

The most important obstacle in his mind is the University of Illinois, who will be gracing the Neil Schiff Tennis Center with their current top national ranking and 13-0 record in a showdown on Mar. 26.

“They’re coming in here and I’m hoping they are going to be undefeated when they come here so we have a chance to have a crazy upset. That would be just about the most unbelievable thing that could happen in my college career.” Hechtman said.

Hechtman and the rest of his teammates are looking not to be disappointed with their efforts this year

“We are not going to let up and be satisfied with being 8-0,” he said. “We want to just keep the fire and the hunger going.”

Larry Nolan can be contacted at l.Nolan@umiami.edu.