Sam Rundle has been in Philadelphia for six weeks. So far, he only sees a few differences between the city and his hometown of Perth, Australia.
“I’ve never had this kind of weather, like snow, in Australia,” Rundle, a freshman, said. “The cars driving on the other side of the road, and the measuring system, like pounds and miles, are different. It’s pretty similar [otherwise].”
Rundle and his teammate, freshman Santiago Canete, are both new to Temple after joining the men’s tennis team this semester. So far this season, Rundle is 0-4 in singles matches, all in the sixth flight. Canete, a native of Madrid, Spain, is 4-4 in singles, playing five matches in flight four and two in flight five.
“I think I’m doing pretty well,” Canete said. “I started out winning my first singles matches. I’m happy, and I think it will be better.”
In doubles, Canete is 3-4. Most of those matches have been played in the first flight with senior Kacper Rams. Rundle is 4-3 so far, usually playing with sophomore Kristian Marquart in flight three. In Canete and Rundle’s first doubles match, they played with each other, defeating senior Ricardo Garcia and sophomore Francesc Terns-Campius 8-1 in the second flight.
“[Santiago] is getting better and better,” coach Steve Mauro said. “He will be a good college player by the end of the season.”
“In Spain I would have to rally a lot of balls from the back of the court. Here, there are much more volleys.”
—Santiago Canete / freshman
Canete said the biggest difference between tennis in Spain and tennis in the U.S. is the speed of the courts.
“Here they play a much faster style of tennis,” Canete said. “In Spain I would have to rally a lot of balls from the back of the court. Here, there are much more volleys.”
“In Australia, everything’s outdoors, and here everything’s indoors,” Rundle said. “I guess it’s the same for other players, but it did take a while to adjust.”
Mauro said the Owls benefit from outdoor courts.
“We’ll have a better chance [when we play outside] because the surface is a little bit slower,” Mauro said. “That helps some of our players, especially Santiago.”
On Saturday, Canete faced George Washington senior Alexander van Gils, losing 6-4, 6-2. This was Canete’s biggest challenge of the season so far, as van Gils was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team last season.
“Santiago played a kid who was probably one of the best players in the A-10 last year,” Mauro said. “He fought hard. The match was actually close, just a few points here or there where I think it could have changed the outcome of the match.”
Meanwhile, Rundle played junior Viktor Svensson, and lost 6-2, 6-2.
“I’ve seen Sam play a lot better,” Mauro said. “Sam has improved every match. Today was a little bit of a setback. I don’t know what exactly it was.”
Rundle lives in the Edge near Main Campus, saying that “it’s nice” and he “couldn’t ask for anything else.” He said he also has been doing some sightseeing.
“I’ve been around campus with the tennis team, and a couple of my friends that live off campus,” Rundle said. “I’ve also been into the city, which is quite nice.”
While Canete is enjoying Philadelphia, he said he prefers Spain.
“My homeland is much better,” Canete said. “I like it here, the only problem is the language. I lived in the states when I was [7 years old], and I’ve been to a British school in Madrid, but I don’t know too much. I’m learning now, trying to improve.”
Rundle and Canete both said they can compete in the NCAA.
“I think I’m getting better every day,” Rundle said.
“I’m happy,” Canete said. “I think I will get better.”
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.