- School: LSU/UCSB
- Year Graduated: 2018
- Current Job: Professional tennis player (ATP #686)
Simon Freund was born in Stockholm, Sweden. During high school, he attended Idrottsgymnasium and graduated in 2014. After graduating high school he attended LSU, before transferring to UCSB in 2016.
Freund’s career-high ITF Juniors ranking was No. 110 in the world in January of 2014. While playing on the ITF Juniors Circuit, Freund won two ITF Singles Titles and competed at the Junior Australian Open.
During Freund’s two seasons at LSU, he recorded 29 victories. During his freshman year he played at the #5 and #6 spots. HiS sophomore year, he played as high as #2 singles. After two seasons at LSU, Freund decided to transfer to UCSB.
During his junior season at UCSB, Freund compiled an 18-7 singles record playing primarily at the #3 position. Additionally, he and partner Morgan Mays competed in the NCAA Individuals doubles tournament. During his senior season he played primarily #2 singles and #1 doubles. He was ranked as high as #6 in the country in doubles with partner Morgan Mays.
Following his graduation at UCSB, Simon decided to give the pro tour a chance. He has had success in both singles and doubles, currently sitting at near career highs of #369 in doubles and #686 in singles. To this point he has won five futures doubles titles.
I have become quite close with Simon especially since competing against him on tour. He has some great advice to offer, especially because he is a foreigner that happened to transfer schools after 2 years. Enjoy our interview with Simon!
7 Questions With Simon Freund
#1) What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
I believe college coaches/recruiters started to find me as soon as I approached the top-100 on the ITF Junior Circuit. When that happened I started getting offers left and right. I believe it’s very easy to get overwhelmed in the process, so I tried to narrow the schools down to a top 3 as quickly as possible. Then I went on recruiting trips around August/September going into my senior year of high school. Then I finally committed to LSU around October 2015 (recruited for the fall of 2016).
#2) What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
It is very tough to pick out a single moment. But for my time at LSU it would have to have been our road trip against the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky my sophomore year. We had a tough stretch of close losses before going on the round trip and our whole post-season (NCAA tournament) was on the line, since we were just on the cusp of getting in. We ended up beating both Tennessee and Kentucky in 2 crazy, come-from-behind 4-3 victories. It was just a crazy amazing atmosphere the whole road trip!
For my time at UCSB it was definitely clinching our conference championship my senior year! We had a great season, with everyone from freshmen’s to seniors stepping up, which helped us go 43-0 in the conference, a record that can’t be beaten! The fact that I was able clinch the last conference match was really a cherry on top for me!
#3) How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
Currently I’m playing full time on the professional tennis circuit. I feel like my college tennis experience really helped me grow and mature as a person.
One of the most important lessons I learned in college was discipline and structure. Like a lot of people growing up, I was “a master of procrastination”. But what I soon realized in college was that there are a lot of different parts that nee attention, and without any structure, it gets overwhelming and stressful very quickly. My first year I felt like I was always chasing from behind, running around on campus like a lost puppy. But with time I started to get better at prioritizing and structuring up my days. I began allocating certain time slots for certain subjects and assignments, and soon everything started to fall in place.
As I kept improving my structure, priorities, and discipline, I started to see big improvements especially on the tennis court. I felt like I was able to solely focus on tennis when I was there, and not the usual 2 projects and 3 homeworks due an hour after practice.
It’s safe to say that college tennis really taught me some great lessons of respect, structure, discipline, teamwork, toughness, and much more, that I will all take with me to whatever challenges I encounter.
#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?
I believe that is one of the best lessons you can learn during your time in college; how to structure your day in order to balance your multiple priorities and obligations. The best advice I can give to achieve that is learn how to prioritize, and don’t be afraid to ask your teammates, and especially your coaches and academic advisors for help to structure your days. Everyone is there for a common goal: to help you succeed.
#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?
My answer here will tie back to what I mentioned above, it’s all about priorities. You’re probably going to end up making some bad decisions here and there, but as long as you’re willing to learn from it and have good people around you, things will work out just fine.
#6) Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
I for sure should’ve asked for more help and guidance right from the start. I had some amazing role models and mentors around me who were trying to help me in any way they could. I started to learn my sophomore year that it really is a 2-way street, you need to show that you want to learn and improve, they can’t do it for you.
#7) In your case, why did you think that college tennis was a good option as opposed to going directly to the pro tour?
I believe I’ve always been relatively realistic about my abilities. When I was in my mid teenage years, I really felt that I needed to improve, mature, and grow a lot in order to have a chance of being competitive on the professional tennis circuit. So, 4 years of college tennis felt like the perfect match. I personally felt that one of the biggest lessons I learned in college tennis was understanding that you’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re competing for the whole program, your coaches, your teammates, the alumni and so many more that are a part of your particular college. The values of respect, unity, teamwork, and much more that you learn from that is invaluable. There’s no better teacher than college tennis.