Don’t be fooled by freshman Carey Rubin’s shy demeanor. Underneath his quiet exterior lays an incredibly focused and driven athlete.
Amazingly, Rubin’s devotion to tennis runs so deep that he often takes it upon himself to practice outside of the organized team practices.
“I come a lot on my own before practice and then I like to hit after practice,” Rubin said.
On Wednesday morning, while the rest of the university was either sleeping or at class, Rubin was hitting rounds with Michigan’s men’s tennis head coach Mark Mees. Rubin has been working hard to improve the speed and accuracy of his serves, as well as his skills along the baseline, which he prefers instead of always having to come to the net.
“I feel that I have improved just in past two months,” Rubin said. “I’ve improved my serve a lot as far as pace and consistency.”
This kind of commitment is reminiscent of something out the movie Rudy. Rubin lives and breathes tennis. He has decided on what he wants to achieve and is willing to go to any lengths to realize these goals.
“I like to play a lot, its fun for me,” Rubin said.
Rubin puts every effort into tennis with hopes of joining the pro tour after college.
“I think I owe to myself to at least try it for a couple of years and see how it goes,” Rubin said.
Throughout the past few weeks Rubin has gotten a taste of the skill level the pro tour requires. Mike Kosta, who is an alumnus of the University of Illinois and now a part of the pro tour, has been kind enough to lend his expertise to Rubin by hitting with him a few days each week before team practices.
“It’s good for me to practice with guys like him because I learn a lot,” Rubin said. “He has played at the top level in college and knows what it takes to win.”
As the youngest member of the men’s tennis team, Rubin holds a very special place. He is the little brother of sophomore Mike Rubin, and also the team’s kid brother. Carey has eight older “brothers” to encourage him and teach him.
On a team with absurd nicknames, Carey’s nickname explains it all. The team lovingly refers to Carey as “Carebear,” which he received from senior co-captain Chris Shaya. Shaya started this nickname in the first weeks of practice because Carey is easy going and laid back.
“I just like to hit tennis balls,” Carey said. “Shaya told me he was gonna take me under his wing and show me the ropes.”
With his fierce work ethic and teammates rallied in support of him, Carey has nothing but success in his future.
The Michigan men’s tennis team will be on the road this weekend, playing on Friday against Minnesota and then again on Sunday against Iowa.