- School: Wake Forest
- Year Graduated: 2018
- Current Job: Professional tennis player (ATP #
Skander Mansouri was born on July 23, 1995 in Tunis, Tunisia. After a successful junior career, he was uncertain whether to go pro or go to college. He ultimately decided to go to college at Wake Forest University starting in 2014.
As a junior, Mansouri had success on the ITF Junior reaching a career high ranking of #38 in the world. He competed at the junior events at both Wimbledon and Roland Garros. He was highly sought after by college coaches across the U.S., but when he decided to go to college he chose to attend Wake Forest University.
While playing at Wake Forest, Mansouri became a force in college tennis. His freshman year, Mansouri played at the #3 and #4 positions in singles, and the #1 doubles position with Christian Seraphim. He and Seraphim reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Individuals Tournament and reached a high ranking of #9 in the country. His sophomore year, he became the third player in school history to become an All-American in both singles and doubles. In the NCAA Individuals tournament, he reached the round of 16 in singles, and the quarterfinals in doubles. His junior year, he was once again named a singles and doubles All-American. He was part of the first-ever ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship team, pairing up with Christian Seraphim. His senior year, Wake Forest won both the National Indoor Championships and the NCAA Championships. Skander played primarily at the #2 singles and #2 doubles positions for this team.
After college, Mansouri began to play professionally. Mansouri has reached a career high singles ranking of #303 in the world in singles and #209 in the world in doubles. Skander is a great guy with a great view on the world. College taught him to be well-rounded and he has had great results on the pro tour. I was personally able to spend a week with him on the road last summer. His stories about his college and pro experiences are awesome and I actually learned a lot from them. Please enjoy this interview with Skander Mansouri, we hope you can learn something from him!
7 Questions With Skander Mansouri
#1) What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
At first I was convinced I wanted to go pro right away and not go to college. During my senior year of high school, I talked to a few schools and some of the coaches came to visit me in Tunisia. After talking to them, I felt like the best fit for me was to go with Tony Bresky and that is why I decided to go to Wake Forest. I was looking at a school with good academics but also a coach that was ambitious and that was going to help me become the player I want to be. I committed around may of my senior year of high school.
#2) What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
I think this is a very hard question to answer, especially now that I’m done, I miss everything about it. We had some very good seasons, we were around 25 in the nation my freshman year and I left on the highest note possible after being number 1 and winning NCAA. People would think the best moment was winning the national title, of course, I’m not saying it wasn’t an unbelievable moment, but I think that moment meant what it did because of all the hours and everything we have done as a team. Another unforgettable moment was winning the first ACC championship in the program’s history my sophomore year, beating Virginia in the final that had won it 8 times in a row, that started everything. Looking back at it, the best moments were mostly the simplest moment that you would take for granted hen you are there, pit sits with your friends, team dinners at your coaches house, I never thought I would say it but even the runs with the team. As tennis players we might not have that ever again.
#3) How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
I am on the pro tour and I have been playing since I graduated in 2018, I am ranked 380 in singles and 290 in doubles now. I think college tennis is an excellent preparation for the tour as you play many matches in different conditions and that you have to constantly deal with adversity, weather it is too much school work, lack of sleep or a court that is too fast, you have no other way than try to adapt and overcome.
#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?
That is for sure one of the difficulties of college tennis. If you want to do well at school and on the court, it is very possible but it will take some dedication and some good time management skills. I would say the best advise would be to try to be as focus as you can in class in order to use that time efficiently so you have less work to do later on and use the day offs you get in tennis to try to get ahead in school. If you want to do well in both, it is 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?
I think everyone should have fun in college but the two main things that helped me do both were time management and accountability. If you manage your time well you will have time to have fun that is for sure. However, it will be important to realize when you can do it and when you can not.
#6) Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
I would personally spend more time with friends and ask more individual sessions than I have. Our coaches were there ready to coach us extra whenever we wanted and I think I could have used that a little better than I have. I took that for granted. Now that I am on the tour by myself I realize how important that was.
#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 think tennis a sport that requires a lot of maturity. Unless you are doing really well and can afford a team to travel with you, you will have to do many things yourself and college prepares you very well for that I think. I became very accountable when I was in college and gained a lot of autonomy. I also learnt how to manage my time and procrastinate way less. During the years in college you understand that most of the time, everything is not going to go perfectly as planned and that you have to deal with it. Understanding that is helping me a lot today on the tour.