Sylow brings in talents from Australia to Allendale
Austrailian and junior Grand Valley State University tennis player Quinn Sylow always wanted the opportunity to play collegiate tennis in the U.S.
His aspiration was made possible through another international player named Gregory Bekkers,
who played tennis at Georgia Southern University. Bekkers’ role as a former Austrailian high school
star put him in a prime position to give Sylow a lot of advice about getting a scholarship to play
tennis in the U.S.
“He told me to play as many highly ranked players as I could,” Sylow said. “He told me to take
videos of myself playing a couple sets so that he could send them to coaches. I didn’t have a
preference on where I wanted to go to school, so he sent them to coaches throughout the U.S.
Grand Valley State University showed interest, and it turned out to be the right fit for me.”
Sylow entered GVSU with an open mind and wanted to experience as much as he could during his
time in the U.S. GVSU’s International Student Organization made the transition easier for Sylow, too.
It gave him and the other international students a tour of the Allendale Campus as well as
downtown Grand Rapids, and it gave him the chance to connect with new people aside from the
people he met from the tennis team.
Sylow has enjoyed playing tennis at GVSU so far, but he has also benefited academically, as well.
“I was used to very large lectures at my old university in Sydney,” Sylow said. “I like the small class
sizes at GVSU, and the professors are very enthusiastic. It helps me balance tennis and my studies.”
Sylow had to adjust to his new environment in more ways that one, as he was forced to play
primarily on hard courts when he came to GVSU, although he was used to playing on synthetic
grass in Australia. Different kinds of surfaces makes the ball behave differently, which makes a
player’s strategy depend on the surface that they are playing on.
Sylow attributes his growth as a player to the mental aspect of playing tennis and thinking about
what he’s doing on the court.
“I try not to dwell on one part of my game such as a backhand or forehand,” Sylow said. “I’ve put a
greater emphasis on the mental side of my game and staying focused.”
Sylow has lofty expectations going into his junior season with the Lakers. He is recovering from an
ankle injury that he suffered last season, and he had abdominal surgery over the summer. Aside
from staying healthy this season, Sylow wants to play as high in doubles as possible. He also
touched on some of the team’s goals for the 2013-2014 campaign.
“We want to go deep into GLIAC and contend for the title,” he said. “Winning those rivalry matches
against Ferris State and Aquinas is always important as well.”
Senior Andrew Darrell played doubles with Sylow last year and thinks that he will be a major asset
for the Lakers. Darrell hopes Sylow recovers from his ankle injury quickly so that he can have an
“Quinn has a great backhand, which I think is his biggest weapon,” Darrell said. “He’s tall and has a
good serve. He has great hands at the net, and I think they are the best on the team. He’s always
helping his teammates improve their games at practice, and he’s always positive.”
Sylow’s character makes his teammates enjoy having him around, and he has turned into a person
that younger players can look up to. His maturity on the court sets a fine example for how young
players should handle themselves when competing in college athletics.
“Quinn has fit in very well with our team,” senior Bryan Hodges said. “He is always a joy to be
around, and his upbeat personality helps push everyone to work that much harder. His work ethic
and determination on the court help inspire the younger guys, and he has become quite the role
model for our team.”
Sylow and the Lakers travel down to Greencastle, Ind., to compete in the DePauw Fall Invitational on