Bahamian star Luigi D’Agord took his time to get to the University of Miami, but now that he has arrived, he is looking to build upon last year’s monster season and take his game to the next level.
D’Agord finished last year as an All-American and is looking to achieve more success this season, although he enters the season unranked among individual players, after sitting out the fall season with an injured foot and ankle.
However, D’Agord has not lost sight of the goal at hand, despite all of the hype and accolades following last season.
“My training has been the same,” D’Agord said. “I am not going to try any harder because of my success. I just try to win every match the same, the way I always have.”
The star ended up at UM in a roundabout fashion, after growing up in the Bahamas and moving to Miami for high school. He played tennis throughout childhood, and ended up at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa after graduation.
“My cousin swims there and that helped make it easy for me to go away from home,” D’Agord said. “They had a new program and they needed players.”
D’Agord formed a particularly close bond with then assistant coach Mario Rincon, and when Rincon left to become head coach of the ‘Canes, D’Agord followed.
“Mario was an assistant at Alabama and I like his coaching style,” D’Agord said. “Since I lived [in Miami] for five years before college, this felt like a good situation to come back home to.”
While D’Agord remains humble in his quest for a title, others around the program are very excited about what this season holds for their star.
“It is really exciting for me to coach Luigi,” Assistant Coach C.J. Weber said.
“He is one of the most talented players I have ever coached, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the competition this year. It’s great for our players, especially our young guys, to have a player like him to look up to.”
While Miami’s team has surged to number ten in the national rankings, the injury has still kept D’Agord unranked. However, the coaches seem to think that this will not last much longer.
“He and Josh [Cohen, D’Agord’s doubles partner] had a very impressive win over Duke’s number one doubles team, which at the time was ranked number four in the country,” Weber said. “They beat them 8-0.”
D’Agord refuses to let success go to his head. After all, the build up is nothing new for this accomplished athlete.
Tom Pudge, a volunteer assistant who has worked with Luigi for six years, maintains that D’Agord is that special type of player who will succeed through all circumstances.
“We’re very proud with what he’s accomplished,” Pudge said. “His record speaks for itself at both Alabama and Miami.”
Dan Stein may be contacted at email@example.com.