Attending school away from your parents is a big transition. For sophomore Uladzimir Dorash, moving to Philadelphia was simply the next step in his tennis career.
At age 15, Dorash moved from his home country of Belarus to Poland to pursue tennis more seriously. His parents stayed behind.
Belarus barely had any indoor court spaces for Dorash to play during the notoriously cold and windy winters. There also weren’t many players against whom he could compete, he said.
Dorash already had experience playing tournaments in Poland and in Spain before deciding to move. He said there was more facility space and the competition level was higher. Instead of moving to Spain, which would be costly, Dorash moved to Poland where he could make frequent trips home.
Before he came to Temple, Dorash visited the United States for three weeks during a tournament in Miami. He spent all of his time during the trip playing tennis against some of the top youth competition from around the world and hanging out with teammates. He didn’t get to fully adjust to American life like he has now.
“The cultural and mentality differences in America are really big,” Dorash said. “I knew how to speak English before coming here, but the transition to the differences in culture was really hard.”
As someone who has already lived in three countries before his sophomore year of college, Dorash is fluent in four languages.
He speaks both Belarusian and Russian, the official languages of Belarus. He learned English in his elementary school years, and learned how to speak Polish when he lived there.
Dorash is 38-16 in singles and 33-10 in doubles in his Temple career. Last year, he won 19 doubles matches, to tie the mark Kacper Rams set in 2010 for second-most wins as a freshman.
“I was only able to see videos and his [International Tennis Federation] tournament results,” coach Steve Mauro said. “I could tell that he would fit in well at Temple, as well as our team.”
This spring, Dorash is 10-6 in singles and 12-2 in doubles. He has a 9-3 record with his primary partner, freshman Francisco Bohorquez.
“I’ve developed a great relationship with Uladzimir both on and off the court,” Bohorquez said. “I hadn’t played that much doubles before coming to Temple, and playing alongside him has definitely made me a lot better at it.”
Dan Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dan_wilson4.