- School: Minnesota
- Year Graduated: 2018
- Current Job: Professional Tennis Player
Felix Corwin was born and raised in the Midwest. He currently resides in Wisconsin, where he grew up. He graduated from Brookfield East High School, a public high school in Brookfield Wisconsin. Felix entered the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2014.
As a junior, Felix played most of his tournaments in the Midwest region of the US. The only tournaments he traveled around the country for were the super national tournaments such as Kalamazoo, Winter Nationals, and Easter Bowl. He was a highly sought out recruit, ranked top 10 in his class, because of his raw athleticism and upside.
At The University of Minnesota, Felix made a really name for himself. Though the competition in the Big Ten conference is stacked, he won matches over Ohio State‘s Mikael Torpegaard and JJ Wolf. Among other great wins, he became top 40 in the nation for singles and top 10 for doubles. He spent most of his time playing at the number 1 singles position for his team.
After Felix graduated in the spring of 2018, he decided to take his talents to the professional tour. In 2019, he established himself at the futures and challenger level, reaching a career high ranking of 556 in singles.
Personally, I have travelled with Felix and have grown to be good friends with him. He is a fantastic example of how college tennis can be a great environment to improve your game. On the pro tour, he has shown to be one of the guys that is consistently getting better by the month, which is more rare than you might think. His results and ranking are climbing consistently, and I know he is just getting started. Enjoy our article with Felix Corwin, as there is a lot to learn from this guy!
7 Questions With Felix Corwin
#1) What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
The summer before my junior year of high school I started getting a lot of messages from college coaches recruiting me. At this point I did not have results that would get attention of the top teams around the country. I am from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, and played the majority of my junior tournaments around the Midwest. I got a lot of attention from the schools in this area including the top teams such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois. These coaches were able to see my potential in person at the tournaments, even if I wasn’t racking up the wins yet.
It was a trend at that time (fall of 2013) for juniors to figure out their college plans quickly. A lot of players were committing to schools during junior year, a full year before their signing day senior year. I was in no position to do that. I wanted to get a better feel for the schools on the official visits that I could take fall of senior year. So I waited to make any decisions, which in retrospect helped me out.
All throughout the year I kept in touch with dozens of coaches through facebook and email. I made big strides in my game that year and moved from around 60 in the country to solidly in the top 20. I had some messages coming from coaches all around the country by the summer going into my senior year. But I grew up following Big Ten sports, so I was set on playing for a team in that sort of environment. I narrowed my top five choices to Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin. The decision ended up coming down to Minnesota and Illinois. It was a tough choice, but I decided on Minnesota for a few reasons. They had it all to offer for what I was looking for – great coaches, top-notch facilities, good team, good characters, quality academics. They were a consistent top 30 tennis program so I knew I would be competing with the best teams in the country. At the same time, they weren’t ranked so high that I was worried about potentially not making the starting lineup.
#2) What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
One of my best memories came on the tennis country my freshman year at Minnesota. We were a great team, ranked in the top 20 in NCAA. It was the last weekend of regular season and we had just upset Illinois at home on Friday, who was 3 in the country at the time. That Sunday we were playing Northwestern at home for a chance to win the conference title. Throughout junior year of high school I had Northwestern at the top of my list of schools to go to. They only had one scholarship to give for my recruiting class, and opted to give it to Logan Staggs rather than me, as he was a top junior in the country at the time. So this match with Northwestern went down to the wire, and I was matched up against Staggs. With the team score at 3-3, I was down 5-2 in the third set. I went on a huge run to with the match 7-6 in the final set and clinch the Big Ten Title for my team. It was the sweetest victory.
#3) How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
I was fortunate to have a great coach in Geoff Young at Minnesota. Throughout my four years he demanded top notch effort from his players while setting the example of how to be a winner at life. He was constantly telling us the things we needed to hear while dealing with the pressures of school and D-I athletics. I have taken a few things he said to us with me in my career after school.
“Focus on what you can control.”
“Be intrinsically motivated, not driven by external factors.”
“It’s not about succeeding or failing, but about what you learn through the experiences.”
I am playing the pro tennis circuit. Since graduating from Minnesota in May 2018, I have worked my ranking up to 558 in the world on the ATP rankings and my environment at Minnesota is a huge part in that.
#4) A lot of juniors and parents worry that tennis will suffer because of the academic demands of college. What advice would you give an 18-year old in terms of balancing academics and tennis?
Every school offers majors all around the spectrum in terms of difficulty. No matter your learning level, all of the big schools will have education options that are manageable.
#5) Another thing we see parents worrying about is how the social component of college will affect their kids tennis. What would you tell an 18-year old going to college in regards to having fun without compromising their tennis/academics?
The biggest thing that affected my social patterns was my teammates. My social structure was very similar to what the other guys on the tennis team were doing. If you are on a team full of motivated players, it will be a lot easier to stay focused as well. So, I would recommend looking closely at team dynamic and character when going on visits.
#6) Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
Throughout college I was extremely hung up on results personally as well as for the team. I think that increased my anxiety going into matches and brought down my level of play at times. I got better at managing this in my senior year when I played my best tennis in college. If I had been able to do that earlier, I think I would have had more great results throughout my first three years.
#7) In your case, why did you think that college tennis was a good option as opposed to going directly to the pro tour?
The biggest benefit to going to college for me was to give my body and mind a chance to mature before playing pro tournaments. I wasn’t ready for the tour at age 18. Those four years were great in terms of understanding my own game. On top of that, my passion for the game and desire to play improved throughout my time at Minnesota. Some of my greatest memories in my life are from college, on and off the court.