Loading...
BYH, Trump. Did you think it would be that easy? That you could just be installed by Putin and his oligarchs, live a...

Unique pair bonding, winning at ECU

041418ECUTennis-2.jpg
1 of 2

East Carolina's Javier Renones, left, and doubles teammate Wisse Jonker pose on the court before pratice on April 13, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

041418ECUTennis-1.jpg
Loading…

By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, April 15, 2018

East Carolina’s men’s tennis team has a reliable doubles tandem formed in uniqueness in freshman Wisse Jonker from the Netherlands and sophomore Spaniard Javier Renones.

Individually, they are at different levels with their fluency with the English language, their academics and their overall comfort level in the United States. Together, they have bonded through a 15-2 doubles record this year and their evolving love for the intensity in U.S. college tennis matches and football Saturdays in Greenville.

“I remember the football game against N.C. State (in 2016), that was the craziest game I have ever been to,” said Renones, a left-hander from Santander, Spain. “Back home I have a soccer team, but it’s not like that. I saw the stadium packed with like 55,00 people and it was crazy and we won.”

Both Europeans naturally tried soccer as kids, but they preferred tennis. Jonker’s mother was a tennis coach and Renones gets some of his athletic ability from his father, who was a European handball champion.

They are not the only international transplants and budding college football fans for the Pirates, who have won a school-record 20 matches heading into today’s regular-season finale against Connecticut at the River Birch Tennis Complex. Seven of the nine players on the roster are not American.

The foreign players have had landmark and sometimes uncomfortable moments with ECU tennis. That often comes with the noise during matches.

“During my first college match I kept thinking, ‘What are those guys doing?’ because you have to scream (for teammates),” Jonker said. “I’m not that kind of person, but I have become more into it. I think it’s really cool.”

Jonker said he also has had to adjust to the use of signals between teammates, like in volleyball before serving or in baseball when a catcher gives a sign to the pitcher for what type of pitch to throw. In European doubles tennis, the players usually huddle and discuss strategy between points instead of using signals before serves.

“When I serve now, he knows where I am going to go before I hit,” Renones said. “He doesn’t have to tell me anymore because he knows where I am going every time.”

The duo is 3-0 from the No. 2 doubles slot and 12-2 in the third position.

As singles players, Renones is 23-6 and Jonker is 16-2.

But it’s also not always easy to be a student-athlete in a foreign country. Both players said they miss family and friends.

Jonker admitted that classes at ECU have been a big adjustment for him because learning in English can still create confusion at times.

“I am pretty good at home at economics, but here every word is different so I have to translate every word,” he said. “That is pretty difficult for me. I think I just need to get through this first semester and get good grades and focus on my classes, and I’ll probably get more used to it.”

When they are on the court and their element, Jonker is the more aggressive player. Renones’ serve is a strong suit.

“He is way more aggressive than me, with a good forehand and good volleys,” Renones said. “But we both can be similar in that we both really like to go to the net.”

In addition to Renones, Jonker, Austin Allen from Asheboro and Maryland native Kasey Countee, the Pirates have two players from England, two from Germany and Vlad Anghel is from Bucharest, Romania.

“I was here last year and I think we are working harder now,” Renones said. “That is making us play better and it is helping us a lot mentally.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

December 09, 2018

Jon Gilbert’s experience in athletics ranges from being an administrator at big-time Southeastern Conference schools Alabama and Tennessee to holding his first athletics director position last year at Southern Miss, a school that in many ways is similar to East Carolina and used to be a rival…

120418ECUADGilbert-5.jpg

December 07, 2018

Pitt County East Carolina football recruits Jeremy Lewis of South Central and CJ Johnson of D.H. Conley doubled down on their commitments following the arrival of new head coach Mike Houston this week.

Attempts to reach Farmville Central’s Keziah Everett for comment were unsuccessful.

Houston,…

092918DHCfootball-4.jpg

December 07, 2018

First-year East Carolina head football coach Mike Houston announced the addition of 10 members to his initial Pirates’ staff on Friday.

All have assumed their duties immediately.

Among the additions are eight coaches who were on Houston's staff at James Madison, five on the offensive side of…

120518ECUFootballHouston-7.jpg

December 07, 2018

The difference in total yards — 614 to 362 in favor of James Madison — tells a lot of the story of JMU’s 34-14 win over East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to begin the 2017 season for both teams.

Coach Mike Houston, who posted a 37-6 record at JMU in three seasons before…

090317ECUfootball-10.jpg

December 06, 2018

East Carolina University has designated $20 million in university money to settle a deficit in its athletics budget and to make significant capital improvements to athletics facilities, officials said Wednesday.

The funds are available immediately, with one $10 million transfer intended to nullify…

120518ECUFootballHouston-6.jpg

December 06, 2018

Coach Mike Houston didn’t leave James Madison for East Carolina because of Holton Ahlers, but he is aware of the Pirates’ talented quarterback.

Ahlers, a left-hander standing 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, was one of the top freshman QBs in the country this year even during a third straight 3-…

111818ECUfootball-20.jpg

December 05, 2018

Donnie Kirkpatrick is returning to East Carolina’s football program to be the first offensive coordinator for Mike Houston as head coach of the Pirates.

ECU has not made Kirkpatrick’s appointment official, but sources have confirmed that Kirkpatrick is expected to be named offensive…

102313ecukirkpatrick1.jpg

December 05, 2018

Dave Hart didn’t even know how to finish his sentence.

He has been in athletics administration since the early 1980s and seen just about everything, except for what happened with him and East Carolina finalizing an athletics director search and football coaching search at the same time.…

120418ECUADGilbert-2.jpg

December 04, 2018

In Mike Houston’s estimation, the key to rebuilding the football team at East Carolina is redefining the team’s identity.

The new face of ECU football laid out his blueprint for the Pirates in a news conference on Tuesday, the same plans he said he had already detailed to the…

120518ECUFootballHouston-3.jpg

December 04, 2018

A public pursuit of sorts played out for former James Madison football coach Mike Houston last week, and it was East Carolina that introduced Houston as the Pirates’ 22nd head football coach at the Murphy Center on Tuesday.

The Charlotte 49ers offered their head coaching position to Houston,…

120518ECUFootballHouston-1.jpg
312 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 32
        Next Page»   Last Page»