Making the Adjustments
April 20, 2006
Moving half way around the world can be challenging for anyone, especially for a student-athlete. The language barriers, the new cultures and the adjustments to every other avenue of life can take a toll on a young person. Current California senior Lennart Maack made the journey several years ago, moving from Langswedel, Germany, to Stockton, Calif., to attend Pacific on a tennis scholarship.
'It was kind of weird how I ended up in Stockton,' Maack said. 'I had a friend there on the tennis team, and he called me and told me to come to California to play. So I went to Stockton, and it wasn't what I thought it was going to be at the beginning. It was decent but different from home.'
Maack adjusted just fine in tennis, however, boasting an 11-9 singles victory and a 16-6 doubles record. The 5-11 German played the majority of his initial season in the second position and moved to the first position doubles with partner Amar Sigurdsson after a 10-match winning streak.
In his sophomore year, Maack continued his success in singles with a 26-7 record (18-5 in dual matches). He held a 10-match winning streak in singles with upsets over four straight ranked opponents.
'I don't think going to Pacific was a bad thing,' Maack said. 'It was a good adjustment coming here. I liked the coach there. The coaches were really good and really nice so they helped me get better. So actually it might have been a good thing to begin there.'
Since transferring to Cal, Maack has continued his success on the both the singles and doubles courts. Last season he teamed with teammate Dean Wallace to post eight wins between the second and third positions, and they advanced to the Pac-10 doubles championship, falling to USC's Jeff Kazarian and Kase Van't Hof, 9-8 (3).
On the singles court, Maack advanced to the round of 16 before eventually falling to Oregon's Sven Swinnen, 7-5, 7-5. Maack played in the second position during most of the season, recording wins against, TCU's Jacopo Tezza, SMU's Federico Murgier, Oregon's Thomas Bieri, ASU's Jonathan Kinsella, USC's Drew Hoskins and San Diego State's Markus Dickhardt, who was ranked No. 75.
'I like singles the best,' Maack said. 'I'm probably a better singles player than doubles player. Last year was good with Dean and I, but this year we are struggling.
'I came here for academic reasons, and tennis is second,' he added. 'I've been focusing a lot on tennis lately, which has carried over on the court.'
In the third position this season, Maack is 9-2, going undefeated against the Arizona and Los Angeles schools.
In five years, Maack is closer to understanding the California culture, on the court and off.
'When I first got to Stockton,' he said, 'I wasn't use to people talking to you on the street. In Germany people really don't ask you how you are doing or say `hi' unless they really want to talk to you. So when the first person asked me how it was going, I stopped to talk to them, and they kept walking past me.'
Now in Berkeley, little gets past Maack.
One word with Lennart Maack...
Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind, Lennart...Tennis?
Maack: Nice guy.