Written by: James Williamson
With the completion of last month’s ITA Regional Championship tournament, the Temple Men’s Tennis team has finished their Fall season. In the coming months, the Men’s Tennis team will be hard at work preparing for the upcoming season in January.
In the mean time, let us shine the spotlight on one of the newest members of Temple’s tennis team, Uladzimir Dorash.
The 18-years-old Uladzimir Dorash hales all the way from Grondo, Belarus, although he has not been in his homeland for quite some time. At the age of 16, Dorash set off for tennis training without his parents. He was forced to leave his country because tennis has yet to be fully developed in Belarus, so if Dorash was going to be serious about his tennis career he would need to go elsewhere to hone his game.
Uladzimir first began his training in Spain, but that was for just a brief period before finding a better facility in Poland; this is where head coach Steve Mauro would first come into contact with Dorash.
After first seeing that Dorash excelled academically and met all of his requirements in the classroom, Coach Mauro began scouting him and he was very impressed with what he saw.
“I looked up the players he had played last year and the years before it and he had wins over some very good players,” said Mauro. “I also saw some video of him, and with his style of play he looked like a really solid player.”
Mauro also had connections out in Poland telling him about how nice of a kid Dorash was and how great of an addition he would be to Temple’s team. It was not long after this that Uladzimir would accept a scholarship to attend Temple University.
When speaking with Dorash, he said he had no idea he would be where he is now.
“This time last year I did not really expect to be at Temple,” said Dorash. “I already thought about going to America and playing tennis for a university on scholarship, but I never expected Temple.”
It took some time, but thanks in large part to his teammates and coaching staff Uladzimir is settling in to life in the States just fine.
“Coming here was definitely stressful in the beginning, but I have really good teammates. Most of them are seniors, so if I ever have a problem or trouble with something they are always there to help,” said Dorash. “Since the first week they have been showing me everything and taking care of me, this is very important to me.”
Dorash’s teammates welcomed him with open arms, just as he has welcomed Temple into his life. According to coach Mauro, Uladzimir has told him on multipule occasions that he made the right decision in coming to Temple.
One of the biggest challenges for Dorash since coming to America has been getting acclimated to a new style of playing tennis. During his time in Europe, Dorash exclusively played for himself; he has competed on a team in the past, but it was only once. He tells me that the rules are a little different than what he is use to, but once the season is underway, Uladzimir is sure he will have everything down pat.
Despite the struggles that come with a new surrounding, Dorash has impressed in his early showings.
Dorash finished the team’s Fall tournament season strong, winning his opening two matches of the ITA Regional Championship tournament. He has also found a good deal of success in doubles this Fall, picking up wins in the ITA Regional Championship tournament, along side Hicham Belkssir, and in the Princeton Invitational, along side fellow freshman Artem Kapshuk.
The coaching staff is very excited to have Dorash on the team. They think he has a lot of potential and expect him to be one of the team’s top players this year.
“He has all the tools to be a great player, I think it is just court strategy he needs to work on. I have seen him play some of the top players in the country and he was right there with them, but ended up losing the match,” said head coach Mauro. “You can see that it is just a matter of tweaking his game that should make the difference between him being an average player and him being a great one.”
Heading into the season, Dorash does not have very many personal goals for himself. Mostly he just hopes he can compete to the best of his ability and do right by his team. Dorash may be playing on a team for just the second time in his life, but it looks like he already has all the makings of a great teammate.