Featured, is freshman tennis player, Leo Linquet from Buenos Aires, Argentina practicing in the off-season for the Huskers.


The Nebraska men’s tennis team has gained recognition in the state of Nebraska and around the globe. The Huskers finished No. 52 this season in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and had five different countries represented on the team to bring different perspectives to the game of tennis. 

The Nebraska men’s tennis team has gained recognition in the state of Nebraska and around the globe. The Huskers finished No. 52 this season in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and had five different countries represented on the team to bring different perspectives to the game of tennis.   

International sports can be a great opportunity for athletes to showcase their skills and compete against the best players around the world. Sports have the ability to increase understanding between people of different cultures and customs. Eight of the nine Nebraska tennis players are international and have carried a sense of pride while representing their countries.

This team, which has students from Japan, Argentina, Germany, Finland and the United States, has already distinguished itself as one of the most memorable tennis groups in Nebraska history. 

Nebraska’s 13 wins are the most in a season since 2016 when the Huskers finished 14-13 and set the most Big Ten Conference wins in school history. The five conference victories tie the program record for the most Big Ten wins, which was set last season.

Senior Shunya Maruyama came to Lincoln from Nagano, Japan, as a four-time junior doubles champion and a finalist in singles at an ITF junior tournament. Maruyama said he wasn’t looking to come to the United States or Lincoln when Nebraska head coach Sean Maymi sent a Facebook direct message to express his interest. 

“I had a video on YouTube of me playing tennis and Coach Maymi reached out,” Maruyama said. “I had played in international tournaments when I was on the junior team and coaches would reach out, but I actually didn’t have any idea of Nebraska before I came here.” 

Maruyama said the move to Lincoln was a big adjustment, as he didn’t understand English five years ago. He said his teammates and coaches helped make the transition easy. 

“My teammates and the entire coaching staff really cared about me and made sure I was set up to exceed in my classes and were a phone call away if I needed anything,” he said.

As an international athlete, Maruyama said he balanced athletics, academics, injury concerns and being away from friends and family. This has brought resilience and strength to Maruyama and his teammates. 

“I have the best environment right now in Lincoln with the facilities and resources to help me succeed,” Maruyama said. 

After Nebraska, Maruyama said he wants to attend graduate school for educational psychology and coach tennis. He said he wants to use his degree in psychology to help teach the next generation of tennis players and adapt a similar philosophy and style of play as Maymi. 

William Gleason is a name the city of Lincoln and the state of Nebraska is familiar with. He is a graduate student, the hometown kid and the only athlete from the United States on the team. A four-star recruit out of Nebraska, Gleason said he felt it was important to stay home and help build the program he has been part of for five years.

“We actually just got out of a meeting talking about how the program has changed in the last five years and a lot of it comes from the guys,” Gleason said. 

In his graduate season, Gleason said he wanted to use his final year of eligibility to come back as he knew this tennis team was going to be special. 

“The commitment from me and the guys to the program has been the biggest difference,” Gleason said. “Putting ourselves in the best opportunities to improve and getting better every day.” 

For the first time since his freshman season, Gleason had a winning record in spring play, and finished 8-7 and 11-13 including the fall season.  

“And that’s the teamwork aspect,” Gleason said. “Individually, you have to try and do your best to do your part but as a whole it takes everyone. One example is, I got beat pretty badly, but our team won. And so that’s what the important thing is, winning as a team.” 

Gleason said the first thing he remembered when he met his teammates for the season was giving rides and showing places around Lincoln. He said having patience has been important when getting messages across and communicating with one another. 

“We’re getting a whole bunch of representation, and I think it’s really cool,” Gleason said. “Bringing everyone together in one place from totally different places around the world and we all get to come together and do the thing that we love – I think it’s really special.”

Freshman Leo Linquet already had an impressive record in his home country of Argentina before coming to Nebraska. In 2018, he was ranked No. 2 in the Argentinian 18 and under rankings. For the majority of the season, Linquet held the No. 2 singles spot and finished the year with a 7-10 record. 

Linquet had to adjust to his style of play when he came to Nebraska and get used to the team aspect of tennis. 

“In Argentina, I used to play tournaments for myself,” Linquet said. “So tennis is very much an individual sport to me. When I became part of a team, I’m not only playing for myself, it’s playing for, I think, for everyone, I’m representing the university.” 

Linquet said he received many scholarship offers from other universities and was talking with coaches around the United States. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to come to the U.S., as his dream was always to become a professional tennis player and continue compete on the Argentina tour. 

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come but then when I came for a visit, I saw the facilities and everything that Nebraska has to offer,” Linquet said. “The food, the tennis balls and the courts are amazing. Like everything, everything’s perfect.” 

Linquet said he wants other players to know about the opportunities Nebraska has to offer and the chances they have here. 

“In Argentina, it’s a really expensive sport, and I had to pay for everything,” Linquet said. “Because you don’t really know until you get here, and if I knew before I’m sure I would have come sooner. I don’t regret what I did, and so I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

Linquet said having different countries represented and the perspectives everyone brings is an advantage to their team. 

“We all have different personalities,” Linquet said. “I think all of the guys are pretty different, and I really enjoy being with them. We have a good group of people and a bonus is they’re good at tennis.”