- School: Ohio State
- Year Graduated: 2019
- Current Job: Accountant
Martin Joyce is from Hinsdale, Illinois and attended Hinsdale High School. Joyce graduated from high school in 2015 and was rated a 5-star recruit by Tennisrecruiting.net before heading to Ohio State University.
During Joyce’s junior career, he was one of the best high school tennis players in the country and was named the National Boys High School Player of the Year and the National High School Coaches Association Boy’s Tennis Athlete of the Year in 2015. He led Hinsdale High School to four straight state titles. He used this team experience to contribute at a high level for Ohio State.
During his time at Ohio State, Joyce was a major contributor to a strong Ohio State team all four years he attended. His freshman year he compiled a 21-0 singles dual match record playing mainly at the number 6 spot. He also contributed in doubles, where he was ranked as high as number 13 in the country with Ralf Steinbach. Joyce also contributed to singles and doubles success his sophomore year, going 13-9 in singles and 22-2 in doubles during dual matches. His junior year at Ohio State, Joyce compiled a 31-8 singles record and was 27-10 in doubles. He was named an All-American in doubles, as he and partner Mikael Torpegaard reached the finals of the NCAA Individual Doubles Tournament (they beat my partner and I in the semis 10-8 in the third, a heartbreaker!) During his senior year at Ohio State, Joyce clinched the victory for his team in the finals of the National Indoors Championship. Additionally, Joyce reached the top 25 in the doubles rankings with both JJ Wolf and Hunter Tubert.
After his time at Ohio State, Joyce was accepted to University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. He is close to completing a master’s degree in professional accounting. While going to school, he also served as the volunteer assistant coach for the Men’s tennis program, a team that was ranked #1 in the beginning of the year. Joyce has recently accepted a public accounting job in Chicago, Illinois.
Though he ended my college career in the semifinals of the NCAA doubles tournament and in the team tournament the same year, Martin is really solid guy. He won a lot of matches for Ohio State and led his team by example. He worked hard and as he has accomplished a lot off the court in his time out of school, it is clear that he took a lot away from his experiences in college. Enjoy our interview with All-American Martin Joyce!
7 Questions With Martin Joyce
#1) What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
It seems like the trend in the recruiting process over the last few years is to commit earlier and earlier compared to years past. I was definitely on the earlier side when it came to verbally committing to Ohio State. I don’t remember the exact month when I called Coach Tucker and told him I wanted to be a part of his program, but it was well before I was even able to take any official visits.
Throughout my recruiting I had conversations with a lot of coaches throughout the country and it was definitely difficult to get it down to a final few that I was really interested in. I think something that helped me a lot was actually making “cuts” throughout the process. I would say, ok next week I am getting it down to 10 that I am still seriously considering. Then, a little while later, I am getting it to 5 and so on. This can help a lot because going through recruiting takes a ton of time and if you can cut out schools you know you won’t end up at early on you will end up being able to use that time to find out more about the ones you really might want to go to. This also helps the coaches a ton. They don’t want to be wasting tons of their own time and resources recruiting someone who knows they are no longer interested. One of the hardest things to do is tell a coach no, but they will definitely want to know sooner rather than later.
From the beginning I knew I wanted to try to go to one of the top programs in the country if they would have me. I wanted to give myself the chance to compete on the biggest stage possible and Ohio State was going to give me that every year. I wanted to play for someone that was going to make me work hard even when I didn’t want to push myself all the way and someone that had proven he was able to develop kids into better players. The first time I ever saw Coach Tucker was at the Midwest Closed when I was 16. He was standing in a corner with a Cincinnati Reds hat perched way up on his head, Ohio State Tennis shirt, army camouflage cargo shorts, and chewing on a pen cap. I had a feeling he might be my guy already at that point. A few months later I was in the Varsity Tennis Center for the first time on an unofficial visit watching practice. Balls were flying all over, people were yelling, and everyone was trying to peg each other in the doubles drills. I walked outside after that practice and told my parents this is where I was going to be.
#2) What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
It’s almost impossible to pick out a single moment from my four years in college. On the court it has to be clinching the National Indoors Championship in Chicago my senior year. That is an experience not many people get to have. It was also in the place where I grew up took it to another level. The whole week I had tons of friends, family and people from the clubs I used to practice at coming out to watch Ohio State play. I’ll never forget serving out that last game ever. Especially because the day before my teammate John McNally had jokingly asked me what I would do if I was trying to close out the match to clinch the championship and missed a sitting volley on top of the net. At 15-0 in that game I did just that and looked over at him feeling like I might throw up. But a few points later my first serve went in and my opponents return went straight up and hit the ceiling and I saw all the guys sprinting towards with hands raised and I don’t know if I’ll ever feel better than that again.
Honestly, there might be more great off the court memories with the team than on court from those four years. One year we played at Minnesota on a Friday night and after a good win the coaches wanted to be on the road so fast that we basically only had time for a quick rinse in the shower before heading to Madison, Wisconsin to play Sunday afternoon. We loaded up the minivans and climbed in. I was a freshman so I was in the back row hunched over with a tennis bag under my feet and my backpack on my lap. About 45 min into the drive one of the guys realized he’d forgotten his laptop in Minnesota’s locker room. We had to turn around to get it and then start that drive all over again. We got to the hotel at about 1:30am that night and I’ve never seen a group of guys more mad or more stiff from riding so long in a cramped van. It was an absolute battle, but now it’s one of the funniest stories to reminisce about with those guys and I could call any of them up and we’d still crack up laughing talking about it.
#3) How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
This year I was the Volunteer Assistant of the Texas Men’s Team and am getting a Masters in Accounting there. After I graduate, I’ll start working in Public Accounting back in Chicago in the fall. I think college tennis has prepared me in so many ways for this year and going forward. There are so many skills you develop being a college tennis player. One of the biggest is dealing with failure. If you want to succeed in college tennis you absolutely have to be able to get back up from failure right away and get better from it. You’re playing multiple matches basically every weekend. If you lose a match Friday night and can’t shake that off and come out stronger and hungrier for that next match on Saturday or Sunday then you’re going to have some big problems.
Another big one is time management. There is a lot going on and there really isn’t a break from when you start to when you finish your career. In order to be successful you have to balance everything out and really prioritize what you need to get done. That is something that is going to be huge for anyone to be able to do no matter what they are doing later on in their life.
#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?
The balance between school and tennis is definitely something I have seen a lot of parents be concerned about. The biggest thing is being proactive. People don’t realize the amount of amazing resources student athletes are given. You’re in an athletic department that is literally built around trying to help athletes succeed. You have counselors, tutors and other athletes/classmates that want you to achieve as much as you can on the court and in the classroom. It is really just up to the student athlete to take advantage of this. If you ask these people for help, they will give you everything you need to be successful. Of course it is going to be really hard at times, but it is totally manageable.
My freshman year, our captain was Chris Diaz and he had just about a 4.0 GPA in some crazy medical degree. He was also one of the best players in the country, winning almost all his matches at the top of our lineup. Not everybody can do that, but you can get pretty close if you are dedicated and responsible.
#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?
A lot of the same stuff can be said here as the question above. It really just comes down to being mature and understanding what you have to get done with school and tennis and doing that first. I have seen a lot of unbelievable college players totally drop off the map because their main priority becomes partying all the time. I have a hard time believing that any of them would say it was worth it to do that once they graduate and look back at their time in college.
I am not saying you should never have fun by any means. It should be the most fun 4 years of your life without a doubt. There is always going to be time to have fun with your friends and teammates. The important thing is just figuring out the right time for that. There are 16-18 hours a day when you’re not sleeping and that is a ton of time. If you can work hard and get what you need done for tennis and school it should leave plenty of time to do what you want outside of that. The hard part is making yourself get that done first. There are going to be days when you have a long practice or two and a lot of homework and there just isn’t time for the social stuff. A day like that you have to avoid the temptation to drop everything and go do the enjoyable stuff with friends. You have to understand there are so many opportunities for that and today just isn’t one of them.
#6) Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
That is a tough one. I really enjoyed my time at Ohio State and there isn’t much I could say that I would want to do differently. One thing I wish I had known more about is the scheduling of classes and what to take when. This is definitely something to really research and you want to plan out what you’re going to take and in what semester pretty early on. This makes it way easier and then you don’t get stuck where one semester you’re in a couple of the hardest classes in your degree at the same time. This happened to me once and it was a very long couple months.
I would also try to take more classes that I found really interesting. You obviously have to take the majority of your classes in the degree field you pick, but there are some classes that you can basically take whatever you want. My first couple years I just signed up for the ones that were supposed the be the easiest and with minimal work. I really regret that now especially at a huge school like Ohio State where they literally have classes for any topic. I would’ve gotten more out of it taking something where I learned a ton and could use rather than Yiddish Literature where my professor didn’t even show up some of the time!
On the tennis side of things I would’ve made myself do more individuals. Especially having the coaching staff I did where they worked so hard and would happily come out any hour of the day to feed me some balls. This one on one work is where you can make some huge jumps in your game and I definitely could have done more especially in my last couple of years. Of course, there are also the hour limitations on practice you have to factor in so you can’t be doing unlimited time with your coach. I think getting out the basket to crack some serves or wheeling out the ball machine are very underrated. I really only did this if I thought I was playing badly and wanted to get out of it as quick as I could. I wish I had made this more of a regular habit.
I would also highly recommend that sort of thing to anyone on the edge of the lineup. I saw guys on my team that were on the outside looking in, came early and stayed late doing the extra work and because of it they got their spot. If you’re neck and neck with a guy and you’re coming in early to hit forehands on the ball machine and staying late hitting serves out of the basket and the other guy isn’t I guarantee you are going to get the first look.
#7) In your case, why did you think that college tennis was a good option as opposed to going directly to the pro tour?
For me, going pro before college was never in the cards. I was always highly ranked for my age, but not at the level where it was really an option. I had always had dreams of trying to play after I graduated and almost tried to make it in doubles, but by the end of my career I felt like I was better off trying to do a little coaching and go back to school for another degree.
I think my path is very similar to the majority of players that go through 4 years of college tennis. I would say almost every single player should be going to college first. The percentage of players who should be skipping college and going pro has a decimal and at least a few 0’s behind it before a 1. It is absolutely possible and anyone can see this by turning on Tennis Channel and watching guys like Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka, and Tommy Paul. But those guys are the 1% of the 1%. For everyone else, going to college is going to give you the best chance to make it on the pro tour. You can get your level so much better on a college campus and for many people you get to do it for almost free. You have unbelievable coaching, practice partners, and facilities for four years at minimal cost compared to having loads of expenses and grinding virtually on your own every week for four years if you go straight to the tour.