When sophomore tennis player Artem Kapshuk found out he made the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Atlantic Regional Rankings for the start of the 2017 season, he was just scrolling through his Facebook news feed.
“My friend, Julius Tverijonas, who plays tennis at George Washington, he was ranked and he posted the link on Facebook,” Kapshuk said. “I was like, ‘OK, let me check. Maybe I’m on there.’”
Surely enough, Kapshuk was ranked No. 17, marking the first time he had cracked the list of the Top 20 best college tennis players in the region.
“It feels good to have an actual result that isn’t just, ‘Yeah, I played great,’” Kapshuk said. “It actually shows that I achieved something.”
The ITA creates its rankings based upon players’ prior records and strength of opponents.
Kapshuk finished with an overall record of 22-7 last season. During the fall, Kapshuk played in the ITA Regional Singles Championships, which featured 64 players from the Atlantic region. He advanced to the round of 16, where he lost to Old Dominion University junior Michael Wiendl, who is ranked No. 10 in the ITA rankings.
“He had a great fall, and I think he’ll continue to improve and help us be a top team in our conference,” coach Steve Mauro said. “He’s always been consistent, but I think he’s adding a few more things to his game.”
Kapshuk’s hometown is Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. He played about a few tournaments in the United States prior to committing to a collegiate-level career in the United States.
Mauro first found out about Kapshuk when Kapshuk reached out to the Owls head coach. Although Mauro never saw Kapshuk play in person before he arrived at Temple, he had a good feeling about the decision to add Kapshuk to the roster.
“We did our research on Artem and he seemed like a nice kid and he had some good results in juniors, so we thought he would be a good addition to our team,” Mauro said. “I think his game has improved since his first year here.”
In just his second year with the Owls, Kapshuk is playing as Temple’s No. 1 seed in both singles and doubles. Kapshuk played 14 of his 22 singles matches in second flight last year and only played top doubles three times.
“I don’t think about my seed when I’m playing,” Kapshuk said. “Nothing has changed. When I play a match, I don’t even look up who I’m individually playing. We just talk about how good the team we’re playing is.”
Despite being the Owls’ top-seeded player and achieving his goal of being regionally ranked, Kapshuk still has his eyes set on an ever bigger accomplishment.
“My goal is to be ranked in the National Top 125 rankings,” Kapshuk said. “The guys who are in the Top 5 of the regional rankings are around 100 in the national rankings, so it is still a long way to get there. I definitely feel that is achievable.”
Dan Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dan_wilson4.