Bond University has launched a high-performance tennis program with players set to contest the UniSport Nationals and a new intervarsity tennis conference.
The Nationals will take place on the Gold Coast in September while eight Australian universities will compete in the intervarsity tennis competition set to kick off next year.
Georgios Asimakopoulos is among the 20 Bondies in the high-performance tennis program.
He joined Bond in 2022 and is studying a Bachelor of Policy, Philosophy, and Economics.
“Once I complete my degree at the end of this year my plan is to focus on my tennis for a while,” Asimakopoulos said.
“I hope to travel around a bit and play as many tournaments as possible.”
Asimakopoulos, the vice president of the Bond Tennis Club, said the club had two dimensions: social and competitive.
“On the social side we organise weekly get-togethers where players of any skill come to pick up a racket and enjoy some friendly matches,” he said.
“A dedicated coach is also present to guide newcomers in learning the sport.”
This year the competitive side of the club has gained momentum with a more rigorous training regimen taking place three days a week.
“We’ve been really building up for the uni nationals,” Asimakopoulos said.
“Additionally, we’ve got the new intervarsity conference that UniSport are implementing.”
Drawing inspiration from the American collegiate system, the new conference will aim to provide year-round competitive opportunities for student-athletes.
Leading Bond’s high-performance tennis program is former professional player Kaden Hensel who was instrumental in establishing the new national competition.
Hensel joined Bond in 2015 when he and his old doubles partner Brad Andrews set out to put Bond tennis on the map.
“Brad works in the finance department at Bond, my mum also worked there for 10 years, and my brother got his first degree there – so I already had a pretty big connection with the place,” Hensel said.
“When I first joined Bond there was no real tennis profile, so Brad and I actually signed up to play the Pennant 1 Fixture which is the highest level on the Gold Coast.
“We signed up using Bond as our team and our venue and we won the competition.”
Last year Bond’s UniSport Nationals tennis team secured seventh place in Division 1.
“Considering that last year we didn’t even have a competitive program or training regimen I think our performance was an incredible achievement,” said Asimakopoulos.
“Since then, we’ve kind of kept that momentum going and have been training regularly ever since.
“We’ve pretty much built this program from scratch and we’ve put in the hard work, so this year we’re not aiming for seventh, we’re aiming to win it.”
The high performance tennis program has been a boon for Asimakopoulos, particularly when it comes to balancing his coaching responsibilities, personal training and his studies.
“To have this new elite-level program at my fingertips while I complete my studies is great,” he said.
“Having access to the training facilities, our incredible coach, and all available to us for free is really amazing.”