Senior tennis player serving losses to competition

by Student Wright Rabun Wright

Senior tennis player Guillaume Dechoz is making sure last season with the Lions is one to remember.

Dechoz is 6-2 in singles matches this year while guiding the Lions to a 5-3 start. His only losses were to D-I University of Alabama-Birmingham and No. 1 ranked University of West Florida.

Dechoz is playing his fourth year as a Lion and said he feels at home as a member of the UNA family. He is 4,701 miles away from his hometown of Habsheim, France.

“I have always wanted to go to the U.S. anyway,” Dechoz said. “I heard about UNA because my agent was talking to other coaches, and (head coach Brice) Bishop was one of them. He made me an offer, and here I am.”

The adjustment to college athletics is hard, he said. The adjustment to another country may be even harder.

Dechoz said his teammates helped make both transitions easier.

“My teammates helped me a lot during my first semester,” he said. “They helped me with school, mostly, but also for small things like my first order at Taco Bell.”

The tennis team represents nine different countries on its roster this year, but the Lions are far from divided, Dechoz said.

“We spend a lot of time together, we always support each other on and off the tennis court,” he said. “I think it’s essential to stay together as a unit in order to be successful.”

Junior tennis player Ali Murad said he credits Dechoz’s leadership to the family-like atmosphere the Lions have.

“Even though he plays as the No. 1 singles player he is very down-to-earth,” Murad said. “This keeps us together by bringing a lot of unity.”

Dechoz considers the match against Alabama State University as one of his favorite memories.

“It was against a D-I school and the game was really close for both guys and girls,” he said. “We were all cheering for each other like crazy.”

Dechoz said he is optimistic about his senior season and has high expectations for himself and his team.

“I really want the team to make regionals this season,” he said. “We have the potential to do it. For me I would like to be ranked in singles. If I keep playing like this I have good chances.”