Lone senior for ASU men's tennis making most of his short Sun Devil career

Michael Geerts takes advantage of his short time at ASU to improve his game and leadership skills

Although he's only been at ASU for a short time, Michael Geerts, the lone senior on the ASU men's tennis team, has become an undeniable leader for his teammates.  

“(He is) very mature, very professional,” head coach Matt Hill said about why Geerts stood out to him in the recruitment process. “He’s a little older obviously, so he’s lot more grown up – he knows what he wants.” 

The Belgium native was working on his economic science degree at the University of Brussels while continually playing competitive tennis in Europe when Hill recruited him. 

“(The) timing was right. He just finished working with the Federation, so he was on his own for the first time in a long time," Hill said. "So I think that was a bit challenging for him, so he was kind of looking for a change, so it just worked out in our favor."

The coaching, facilities and rebuilding of the tennis program convinced Geerts to go on an official visit, which eventually led to his commitment to ASU.

Being the eldest on the team, Geerts quickly became a leader and was voted team captain by the other players. 

“He has so much experience,” freshman Tim Ruehl said about his doubles partner. “It’s easy to play with him. He makes you really like to play.”

Hill can see how Geerts' experiences and maturity are influencing the rest of the team.

“He carries a lot weight and respect from other guys,” Hill said. “I think he leads by example a lot of times by how he operates and how he competes, and when he does speak up, he carries a lot of weight within the group.”

Now at mid-season, Geerts' hard work and determination to improve his game has payed off with his many accomplishments this season.

He has become the Pac-12 Player of the Week twice, defeated then-No. 2 ranked single's player Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, and Geerts is currently ranked No. 35 in Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s rankings, jumping 26 spots since the previous ranking. 

“I think he has found his rhythm," Hill said. "Match count is a big thing for him. So when his match count goes up, his level continues to go with it. He’s the type of player, when he is playing a lot of matches, his confidence goes up, and when his confidence goes up, he’s a really, really high-level player.”

Geerts' season record currently stands at 11-2 in the last 13 matches. However, when he first came to play for the Sun Devils, Geerts had to physically and mentally ready himself for the upcoming season in a new country.

“I think I have improved a lot since the beginning of the season,” Geerts said. “I had to adapt a little bit in the beginning, but I feel, you know, some good practices are paying off.”

While Geerts misses the professional circuit and the different challenges it has to offer, he said college will help him with his long-term goals of working in finance. 

“I miss it a little bit. You know when you play college tennis ... after a certain period, it stops,” Geerts said. “When I played professional, I had ... a little bit of a long-term goal, but college here leads eventually to my longer-term goals.” 

After the season is over, Geerts will travel back to the University of Belgium to finish his exams and receive his degree. He hopes to play once again in the pro-circuit in Europe while he begins to work toward his master’s degree. However, Geerts will miss his teammates and plans on finishing his time at ASU strong.

“I think of course the NCAAs is a big goal for the team,” Geerts said. “(I plan to) try to finish strong ... I’ve got quite a busy schedule, but I like it – I wouldn’t want to have it otherwise.”

Reach the reporter at skbrisen@asu.edu or follow @sophiabriseno on Twitter.

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