Getting To Know: Bradley Klahn
May 13, 2009
Freshman Bradley Klahn has wasted no time in making his mark on the Stanford men's tennis program in only his rookie season, having become only the fourth player in program history to win both the Pac-10 singles and doubles championships in the same year. The Poway, Calif. native has played in the Nos. 1 and 2 singles positions this year, earning a 34-8 overall (19-5 in dual matches, 18-7 versus nationally-ranked opponents) record. He has also won 21 out of his last 23 matches and when paired with fellow freshman Ryan Thacher, is 6-0 against nationally-ranked doubles teams heading into Thursday's contest against No. 8 USC at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas.
Q: What got you interested in playing tennis? Where did you start?
BK: My family would always play tennis on vacations but I really became interested at age 11 after my mother signed me up for a round-robin tennis league over the summer. I chose to stick with tennis over baseball and basketball because I loved the individual aspect of it and having all the pressure on me.
Q:Who in your life has had the greatest influence on you as a tennis player?
BK: My mother and personal coach, Lee Merry, have had the greatest influence on me as a tennis player. My mother played in college and is the one who got me started. She has always been so supportive of everything I've done and given me countless opportunities to develop my tennis game and succeed. My coach has also been an incredible influence on my tennis career. I would never be where I am today without him. Since I started working with him when I started at 11, he has helped me take my game to levels that I wouldn't have thought possible, and has always gotten the best out of me as a tennis player, and more importantly, a human being.
Q: You were a pretty highly ranked recruit, what were the deciding factors for you in choosing to play for the Cardinal?
BK: There were so many deciding factors in choosing to play for the Cardinal. The combination of academics and athletics is second to none, and my parents have always emphasized the importance of academics. The tradition that is Stanford tennis is also something that I could not wait to be apart of. I couldn't picture myself with a better group of guys to call teammates. Lastly, Stanford is an incredible campus and I feel like I am right at home on the Farm.
Q: So far, what have you enjoyed the most about being a Stanford tennis player?
BK: The thing I enjoy most about being a Stanford tennis player is being able to spend time with my best friends everyday. I couldn't imagine a greater group of guys to spend my time with, and the little bonding moments like team dinners, road trips, or even running sprints at morning workouts make celebrating victories that much more enjoyable.
Q: What has been your most memorable, or in your opinion, best singles match so far? Doubles?
BK: It is tough to decide my most memorable singles match this year, but I would have to say either the match against Texas in the quarterfinals of National Team Indoors or the match at USC at the end of February. Both dual matches came down to my match with the score tied 3-3, and both times I was able to come up with wins to clinch the match, including a 8-6 third set tie-breaker win at USC in front of a hostile crowd. There is no better feeling than being out there with the match on the line and having all your teammates on the sideline supporting you every step of the way. It makes those victories so much more satisfying when you have 11 other guys to enjoy it with. The most memorable doubles match this year was when Ryan and I clinched the doubles point against UCLA at home after being down in the match and fighting our way back to win a close one. The atmosphere for the match was incredible, which made it all the more exciting.
Give me three reasons why you think the Cardinal can win its 18th NCAA title this year.
BK: 1) Depth - Every person on this team has the ability to step up and get a big win at any time, and when one guy has a bad day, we have 5 other guys who can pick him up. 2) Determination - Coming into the start of the season, we knew that we had a legitimate shot to make a run at a National Championship, and we have not let the ups and downs of the season take our minds off this main goal. All the hard work throughout the season comes down to this one week in College Station, and everyone is extremely focused on finishing the job we started in January and bringing home a National Championship. 3) Experience - We have played many of the top teams that are in this year's championships and have played everyone tough. We have been in many pressure situations and have come out victorious in a lot of extremely close matches. Going into NCAA's, we know that we have been successful in tough situations and each time a different person has stepped up to provide the clinching win. It is going to be incredibly tough, and every match, starting with USC on Thursday, is going to be a battle, but this team has the belief that we can play with anyone.