In November 2015, freshman Florian Mayer sat in his home in Rottweil, Germany, with the intention of signing a letter of intent to start his college tennis career at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia.
His plans changed when he received a phone call from coach Steve Mauro later that month, offering him the opportunity to be an Owl.
“All [of] the research that we did on Florian, we found out that not only was he a good player, but he was a good kid,” Mauro said. “With the combination of the two, we thought he would be a good recruit for Temple.”
This season, Mayer is 7-4 in singles—tied for fourth most singles wins on the team—and leads the Owls with nine doubles wins with his partner Uladzimir Dorash.
“It’s tough to find players that are both good in singles and doubles,” Mauro said. “Most players concentrate more on the singles game. We liked the way he played, his style of play, which he likes to get up to the net and finish it with the volley. We thought he would be a good fit for our program.”
Mayer began playing tennis with the help of his father, Sven Mayer, and grandfather, Herbert Mayer, at the age of 4. His passion for the game grew, as he later started going to the tennis courts with his friends three to four times a week in his neighborhood.
Florian Mayer later played in juniors during his teenage years, where he competed against senior Nicolas Paulus’ brother.
“I’ve seen him when he was younger, like 12 or 13, my brother played a couple times against him,” Paulus said. “And he was a really good player. He was in the top ten in Germany in his age and then we got in touch when it became a topic that he could come here.”
Paulus, a Rheinau, Germany native, said he and Mayer discussed how the team practices, city life in Philadelphia and Temple’s education programs prior to Mayer joining the team this spring.
“It helped me,” Mayer said. “It’s always a help if you come somewhere new and you know at least one person. Also, when I thought about which college to choose, it was also one of the factors that I know one person.”
Paulus said while watching Mayer play tennis as a child, he knew Mayer would transform into a more talented player.
“He was always calm and thoughtful on the court, and he was really consistent and was good on his feet, he has good footwork,” Palus said of Mayer’s style of play. “I think it developed a little bit into a more aggressive game that I see him several years later. But he’s definitely a calm person on the court, which benefits you.”
Tom Ignudo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.