David Hopkins closed out his college tennis career at Wake Forest in fine fashion. Yet, the end results produced a mixed bag.
On the down side, the Deacons were eliminated from the NCAA Tennis Championships courtesy of an opening round 4-3 loss to Northwestern last week. On the plus side, Hopkins delivered stellar performances in his matches. In No. 1 singles, he beat Spencer Wolf (6-4, 1-6, 6-4) and in No. 1 doubles, he partnered with Amogh Prabhakar to win decisively over Alex Pasareanu and Wolf (8-3).
“My tennis career at Wake Forest was a true learning experience,” said Hopkins, a fifth-year senior and graduate student who has a bachelor’s degree in communications and religion. “There was a lot of personal growth and it tested my character. When you come back from injuries, you quickly find out what you’re willing to endure to help you get back to where you were before the injury. What it comes down to is your willingness to stay focused and persevere so that you can achieve your goals.”
Hopkins, who played high school tennis at Winston-Salem Prep, finished his career with the Deacons as a two-time All-ACC pick. His 92 wins in doubles matches, is third on the school’s all-time wins list for that category.
As a team, Wake Forest played well over the final weeks of the season and was 19th in the national rankings entering the NCAA Championships. The Deacons posted a surprising upset victory over No. 9 Duke in the semifinals of the ACC Tennis Tournament, and advanced to the final, but lost to Virginia, the No. 2 team in the nation.
“Being named All-ACC wasn’t something that was a goal of mine,” said Hopkins, who was recruited by Virginia, Notre Dame and Texas coming out of high school. “I consider it to be an honor, an incredible achievement. It’s a memory that I’ll always have. As for the team, one of the highlights was last year when we came back from 3-0 to beat Clemson in our match-up at the ACC Tournament. The way we rallied revealed a lot about our character and it set the tone for how well we played in 2013.”
In his final season at Wake Forest, Hopkins defeated five nationally-ranked opponents in singles play, which include fellow All-ACC selections Esben Hess-Olesen (NorthCarolina) and Dominic Cotrone (Florida State). In doubles, Hopkins and Prabhakar were ranked as high as 17th in the national rankings during the season.
Even though playing college tennis is now a done deal for Hopkins, there’s still more tennis in his future. Hopkins plans to turn pro this summer. He’s confident he can make the transition. Last summer, Hopkins played in the Winston-Salem Open and held his own in a qualifying match loss to Matthew Ebden, who was No. 71 in the world pro tennis rankings at that time.
“Playing as well as I did at the Winston-Salem Open really boosted my confidence,” said Hopkins. “I proved to myself that I can play at that level. That experience gave me the opportunity to find out what parts of my game that I need to sharpen and further develop.”