Picking up your whole life in Barcelona, Spain, and moving to the U.S. to get a degree and play tennis isn’t the easiest thing to do. But this is exactly what fifth-year senior Gonzalo Garcia-Nieto did.
“Once you get to a certain level where you get out of high school, you have to decide if you want to keep doing that sport and try to go professional or go pursue a college degree,” said Garcia-Nieto.
“It is very hard to do both things at the same time [in Spain], so I thought that America was the perfect spot for me,” said Garcia-Nieto.
While moving halfway around the world may sound difficult, it was easy compared to what he has dealt with since moving to the United States. A transfer from Tennessee Tech, a back injury that included surgery, and a pandemic later, he is happy to be at Lipscomb.
“Whenever 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. Beginning the season 9-1, it was the best starting record in program history.
“I believe 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,” said Garcia-Nieto.
He now has two seasons at Lipscomb under his belt, and he is heading into his third season.
Carlos Salas, a teammate, friend, and fellow native of Barcelona, Spain, praised Garcia-Nieto.
“At the beginning, we didn’t get along very well but then in the second semester we started getting along and hanging out, I think he understands me better,” said Salas.
“Right now in the training sessions he is very loud. You can hear him from the other side of the campus. We know that he is present [because of that] and he helps us a lot on the court,” said Salas.
As for himself, he is looking forward to his last tennis season at Lipscomb, in hopes of a conference tournament championship.
“I want to leave Lipscomb winning, and I believe the only way to do it is by hard work and leading by example to the younger players,” said Garcia-Nieto.
The men begin their tennis season against Butler University on January 22 at home.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics