Coach Chuck McCuen’s effort to rebuild the Clemson men’s tennis program as a national power will get a huge boost this week when Austin Ansari of Page High in Greensboro, NC signs with the Tigers.
According to TennisRecruiting.net, Ansari – currently ranked as the No. 20 junior player in the United States – has verbally committed to Clemson over offers from North Carolina, NC State and Louisville. He was also being recruited by Georgia and Stanford, among others.
The spring signing period begins on Wednesday, April 11.
As the state of North Carolina’s No. 1 player, Ansari is following in the footsteps of fellow Page High product John Isner, who starred at Georgia and has gone on to become one of the world’s top professionals.
Like Isner, Ansari got his start in tennis under the guidance of Greensboro teaching pro Tom Herb, who he began working with at the age of seven.
Herb, in a recent interview with MyFox8.com in Greensboro, predicted a bright future for Ansari, whose sister, Jennifer, plays tennis at Appalachian State.
“Austin picked up the game naturally, right off the bat,” said Herb. “You can tell him something one time and he’s doing it…I think Austin has a tremendous future. I see him doing extremely well in college and hopefully setting himself up to hit the pros.”
During his climb to among the nation’s elite – he’s rated as a five-star recruit by TennisRecruiting.net – Ansari has earned a reputation both for his competitive drive and work ethic, and for his low-key demeanor on the court.
“I’m real controlled – I don’t show any emotions,” Ansari told MyFox8.com. “My opponents tell me after the match that they can’t figure me out because I’m so calm. Even if I’m losing I try not to show any emotion, like I’m mad or anything.”
He’s set his goals high: “Hopefully top-10 in the world, on the pro tour, traveling, playing in the U.S. Open.”