Resuming your whole life in Barcelona, Spain and moving to the United States to get a degree and play tennis isn’t the easiest thing to do. But that’s exactly what fifth-year senior Gonzalo Garcia-Nieto did.
“Once you get to a certain level where you come out of high school, you have to decide whether you want to continue playing this sport and try to turn professional or pursue a college education,” Garcia-Nieto said.
“It’s very difficult to do both things at the same time [in Spain], so I thought America was the perfect place for me, ”Garcia-Nieto said.
While moving halfway across the world might seem difficult, it was easy compared to what he’s been through since moving to the United States. A transfer from Tennessee Tech, a back injury that included surgery and a pandemic later, he’s happy to be at Lipscomb.
“Every time we got that extra year of eligibility I knew I wanted to come back [to Lipscomb to play tennis]”said Garcia-Nieto.
Right before COVID hit, the men’s tennis team was on track to win the conference tournament. At the start of the 9-1 season, it was the best starting record in the history of the program.
“I believe that as a team we have unfinished business. My first goal whenever I transferred here from Tennessee Tech was to win the conference tournament at Lipscomb, ”Garcia-Nieto said.
He now has two seasons at Lipscomb under his belt and is entering his third season.
Carlos Salas, a teammate, friend and compatriot from Barcelona, Spain, praised Garcia-Nieto.
“At first we didn’t get along very well, but in the second half we started to get along and hang out, I think he understands me better,” said Salas.
“Right now, during training sessions, he’s very noisy. You can hear it from across campus. We know he is present [because of that] and he helps us a lot on the pitch, ”said Salas.
As for him, he is looking forward to his final tennis season at Lipscomb, hoping for a championship conference tournament.
“I want to let Lipscomb win, and I think the only way to do that is to work hard and set an example for young players,” Garcia-Nieto said.
The men start their tennis season against Butler University on January 22 at home.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics