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    Serving it up with coach Ferriera

    With Weber State University’s men’s tennis team about to kick-start their 2022 Big Sky Conference season, head coach and Director of Tennis Brad Ferreira is proud of the past, but excited for the future of the WSU program.

    Head coach and Director of Tennis, Brad Ferreira. (Weber State Athletics)
    Head coach and Director of Tennis Brad Ferreira.

    Ferreira is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and began playing for Weber State in 1986. He said that he didn’t know what Utah was, but after hearing from a friend at the University of Utah, he decided to apply to Weber State.

    He was accepted immediately and began his career right after getting off the plane, when he was picked up from their hotel by former coach Keith Cox.

    “Coach drove us around and got right into practice the first couple weeks since I started in January,” Ferreira said. “I went into matches right away and traveled right away, but that was what I wanted to do, just play tennis.”

    From 1986-90, Ferreira went on to help Weber State win four Big Sky championships in a row as he was first in doubles and second in singles tennis on the team.

    After his playing days for WSU ended, Ferreira began coaching at the Ogden Athletic Club and said teaching there helped develop the skills he needed before going back to WSU.

    “I have basically been coaching my whole life,” Ferreira said. “I have been coaching for 20 or 30 years and there really wasn’t a difficult transition from me being a player to a coach, because that gave me time to develop before I went on to be a college coach.”

    Former Wildcats head coach Jared Burnham left the team after eight years with the team and Ferreira stepped into the role in 2012.

    A couple years after filling the vacancy, he led WSU to three straight Big Sky championship victories in 2014-16.

    Weber State made their first appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament in 2016, but lost to University of California, Los Angeles, in the first round 4–0.

    “You have to be a little bit lucky sometimes, and I try to get a similar team every year,” Ferreira said. “Some things work out, and we do well as we had really good teams those three years with everyone being healthy.”

    Jordan Coutinho and Arthur Serafim celebrate their doubles performance. (Weber State Athletics)
    Jordan Coutinho and Arthur Serafim celebrate their doubles performance.

    Since the streak, Ferreira talked about how there have been many injuries that have impacted the team’s roster over the past few years to reach the potential he believes the team can achieve.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic added to the mix of issues over the past couple of years, it has been almost impossible for Ferreira to field a team at full strength.

    “Everyone on the team has basically gotten COVID,” Ferreira said. “One boy is still recovering from a tear in his knee, so it should be about three weeks until our whole team is back together.”

    This year features eight players, with four being labeled as freshmen. Elyes Marouani and Sebastian Buxton are in their second years in college while Chia-Chieh Lin and Tristan Sarap are true freshmen.

    Only two players are from the United States with Sarap from San Diego and junior Arthur Serafim coming from Sarasota, Florida.

    The remaining six are from countries like South Africa, Australia and Taiwan.

    Ferreira credits the recruitment of foreign players to recommendations or scouts who identify talent from overseas.

    “Most of the boys I am recommended are by recruiters as they call me up saying that they have been working with a guy, and I should have a look at him,” Ferreira said. “I get a lot of videos and emails from kids from all over the world, since tennis is more international than most sports here in the United States.”

    It has been a difficult for the team to find a rhythm, and WSU has a record of 2–7. Ferreira said that getting the newcomers up-to-speed with the aspects of competing in college sports has been difficult, but things are looking like they are starting to improve.

    “The problem with freshmen is the whole college experience and it can become a little overwhelming,” Ferreira said. “We throw in a lot of matches before we start conference play so that they can get used to playing while being heckled by people on the sidelines since they never had faced that before.”

    With more experience with adapting to new situations and players returning from injuries or COVID-19, Ferreira sees the team looking more confident and ready for their first match in the Big Sky.

    The team will head to Pocatello as they face Idaho State University in the Big Sky season opener on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.

    Jordan Coutinho works to keep the ball in play during a set. (Weber State Athletics)
    Jordan Coutinho works to keep the ball in play during a set.
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