2009-10 Ohio State Men’s Tennis
Feature No. 2
Jan. 30, 2010
By: Alex Morando, OSU Athletics Communications Student
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chase Buchanan remembers when he first picked up a tennis racket.
At the age of six, Buchanan began hitting tennis balls repeatedly against his garage door until there was no sunlight. Hit after hit, the New Albany, Ohio, native fell in love with the sport and today, the sophomore on the Ohio State men’s tennis team continues to develop into one of the more talented young collegiate players in the nation.
“I am a pretty competitive person by nature,” Buchanan said. “When I first got on a tennis court, it was a great feeling. I always loved to play different kinds of sports, but I thought tennis was right for me. When I started winning matches, I never wanted to stop.”
Buchanan never looked back and the success never stopped.
During his junior career, at 13 years-old, he won the Les Petit, the premier world championships for competitors 14 and under. Buchanan followed with the Vero Beach Futures championship at age 16 to become the youngest winner in the history of the event.
“Just like with any other sport, the competition got harder as I went through the different age groups,” Buchanan said. “I grew into the fact that nothing in this world is easy and you have to work hard to get where you want to go.”
In 2008, Buchanan was crowned the Easter Bowl champion in Palm Desert, Calif., after defeating Alex Llompart in straight sets 6-1, 6-0 in the Boys 18s final. He claimed seven singles and doubles USTA national championships, dominating the world juniors’ field.
“I’ve always tried to develop as a player and do the best I can to my ability,” Buchanan said.
At age 17 it was time for Buchanan to make the next step, playing at the collegiate level and he said there was no place better than Ohio State.
“Coach Tucker was the reason why I wanted to play college tennis,” Buchanan said. “He recruited me and preached what he teaches. It didn’t hurt either that I was a Buckeye at heart. I knew his program created players and everybody got better and I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
Ty Tucker, who is in his 11th season at the helm of Ohio State, has had 34 Academic All-Big Ten honorees, 23 All-Big Ten selections and three Big Ten Men’s Athletes of the Year. He has had 10-consecutive 20-win seasons, which is a school record.
“Chase has clearly made a huge jump in the past 12 months,” Tucker said. “We feel Chase is ready to make the jump to the top of the college game. Since he played a crucial part in the team’s success last year, he knows what to expect in college tennis.”
Buchanan joined the Buckeyes in spring 2008 as the No. 1 ranked recruit in the nation, first competing on the road vs. Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., March 23. It was a different experience for the young player, losing 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 singles against No. 39 Omar Altmann and Buchanan said he learned a lot from his earlier matches in the season.
“It was a different kind of pressure because I was a part of a team,” Buchanan said. “It changes things up a little bit. The biggest difference with college tennis is the motivation I get from teammates to never give up on a match. You never want to give up on your team or school and that is something that will always motivate me.”
Buchanan would finish his first year with an 11-4 overall record in singles, including a 6-1 mark in Big Ten Conference play. He showed tremendous maturity and skill at just the age of 17 against older competition in matches at Nos. 2-6 singles.
“We will lean on Chase for wins and positive emotion this season,” Tucker said. “He knows the key to his game will be positive energy and holding serve.”
After the Buckeyes finished another record-breaking year with a trip to the 2009 NCAA Championships final, Buchanan was a part of something that could be deemed an opportunity of a lifetime for many tennis players across the country and world. He competed in the 2009 U.S. Open singles draw after earning a wildcard spot. He faced World-No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the first round.
“I learned a lot about how good I am and how much better I need to be,” Buchanan, who lost 6-0, 6-2, 6-1 to Tsonga, said. “It put a good perspective on how hard I need to be working and I think it made me a better tennis player.”
Buchanan has high expectations for himself and the Buckeyes this season.
“I think we have as much talent on this team as anyone in the country,” Buchanan said. “For us, it is going to come down to the doubles point. Young guys like myself are going to need to step up. Older guys like Justin Kronauge are going to lead us this year and we also have a great junior class. I’m going to be the best I can too to try and guide this team.”
Outsiders would not think Buchanan has been on this team for only 10 months, but already a team leader, he has found it comes naturally.