This article was orginally published in November issue of Gator Country Magazine print edition.
Question and Answer with Transfer Tennis Player Frank Carleton
By: Chris Lee
New Gator Frank Carleton discusses his journey to being a Gator
Have you been enjoying your time at Florida?
It’s a dream school for an athlete you get everything right at your fingertips and all the resources you could possibly need. The competition, everyone on the team is really good, everybody wants to do well. It is a very good atmosphere.
How did you get started in tennis?
My dad did; he teaches tennis. My brother and sister both graduated from Duke. I grew up playing. I started playing around the time I was three or four years old.
When you were at Wake Forest, did you and your borther who palys at Duke ever compete against each other?
As far as playing matches against each other, we've only played one. We were playing Duke at the ACC championships. I lost in three sets, 6-4 in the third. I was winning and won my first set 6-0 and was up in the second, but lost. It was a bad match; I lost the whole match for the team.
You were also on the Junior Davis Cup team, what was that like?
It was awesome. Playing out of the country for any reason is really cool, but especially playing for your country. We went to Canada first for the qualifier, and then we went to Italy for the whole World Cup thing. It was probably one of the most fun times I've had playing tennis. Besides playing the Junior US Open, that was probably my favorite moment on a tennis court.
Why the decision to play collegiate tennis instead of going pro?
I don't know. My family has always had an emphasis on education. My dad was teaching tennis and was a schoolteacher. My mom was a schoolteacher; so education was always emphasized. It's always been a goal of mine to graduate from college. It crossed my mind a little bit, but I was never really there enough to really go pro straight out of high school. Few people rarely are. There was no doubt in my mind about going to college.
What is your major?
Is your goal after college to go pro?
I'm definitely going to give it a sho. There is no reason not to. These two years I have left - I started in summer B - I've been training as hard as I can. So these next two years are preparation for that.
Why did you Decide to transfer from Wake Forest? Was there anything that caused that?
Yeah, there was. Wake Forest is a great school. I really enjoyed my time there, but you know, some things happened partly on me making choices that don't coincide with Wake Forest. The move kind of became impossible to avoid.
Why the decision to choose UF? Were there other schools?
There were some other school on the backburner. Florida definitely was the first. Head coach Andy Jackson was the first person I contacted. I called him right away when I new that I was going to transfer. The about getting into Wake Forest was I didn't get in until about January because I did two years of regular high school, then did online school. I didn't graduate until October when I should have graduated in June.
What was it like playing in the No. 1 position at Wake Forest as a freshman?
Freshman year I did really well. I think after my first ten matches I got ranked like top twenty in the country. Then last year I got injured and got pneumonia. It didn't go as well as I would have like.
Do you prefer doubles or single?
I've always been more of a singles player before I came to college. But, these last two-and-a-half years or so I've been playing a lot of doubles. I really like doubles and I've gotten a lot better at doubles too just from playing here - just understanding doubles strategy and knowing what you have to do to win. I would consider myself a multifaceted tennis player.
What is your singles game, are there any pro players that you watch or try to emulate?
i don't try to go and completely copy someone's game. My game woulbe probably be a baseline - an aggressive baseliner. I come to net when I can, but that's not usually my main goal to try and get to net. If there is anybody I'd like to paly like, it would probably be Djokovic because he is really solid on the ground and he comes to net when he has to.
Djokovic's return game is amazing too.
That's one of the better shots in my game, too. My return and backhand.
What is your favorite thing about the game of tennis?
I really like the rhythm. I like hitting the ball. I like how it goes back and forth and you can put different spins. We were talking about this the other day becaue we were playing FIFA (video game) and there was a shoot out, and we asked what a shoot out would be for tennis. There probably can't be a shoot out in tennis because there is not just one way to win a point. That's one of my favorite things about tennis. You really have to get creative in order to win points. Some people just hit the ball really hard or play a certain game type. But, if you watch the good players, they adapt a lot. I like the rhythm and using your mind.