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Family matters to men’s tennis

BY SETH ROBERTS | APRIL 20, 2010 7:30 AM

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When it comes to tennis, distance is not a problem for the Vasos and McGeorge families.

The McGeorges from Tucson, Ariz., and the Vasos clan from Fort Collins, Colo., live a combined 2,000 miles away from Iowa City — a trek both families make almost every other weekend to see their sons, senior Tommy McGeorge and sophomore Will Vasos, play tennis for the No. 72-ranked Hawkeyes.

“I use a lot of frequent flier miles,” Robin McGeorge, Tommy’s father and self-proclaimed tennis enthusiast, said. “There’s a lot of planning ahead.”

The elder McGeorge, who played “a little” collegiate tennis at Arizona, said he has attended around seven matches a year over the course of Tommy’s career with the Hawkeyes. Because his son is set to graduate next month, the Tucson financial adviser said he has tried to take in more matches this year.

“I love watching tennis,” Robin McGeorge said. “It’s a good atmosphere. The guys work hard for three or four hours, so it’s good to support them. They put a lot into it.”

Tommy McGeorge has racked up an 8-12 record in singles this year, but he has truly stood out while partnering with Will Vasos in doubles. The pair has played at all three doubles positions this year but has spent the majority of the season in the No. 1 slot, facing the stiffest competition the Big Ten has to offer.

The Vasos crew members have become famous in the Iowa tennis circle for their visibility at the men’s meets. Becky and Joe Vasos, Will Vasos’ mother and father, fly or drive to Iowa City to watch the Hawkeyes at every opportunity, often with a group of children and grandchildren in tow.

Becky Vasos attributes the family’s traveling to her husband. She said he wanted to take advantage of being able to see his son star for a nationally ranked team.

“We love the team, and we love the boys,” Becky Vasos said. “We want to be there for support, and we enjoy watching the team. The other families and we have formed a sort of cheerleading camp, and we’ve all become a family.”

The Vasos and McGeorge families are not the only ones who have taken in matches at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex this year. The families of senior Patrick Dwyer, sophomore Christopher Speer, redshirt freshman Mitch Beckert, and true freshmen Connor Gilmore and Garret Dunn have all made appearances.

Only Dunn has received playing time this season, becoming a fixture at No. 3 doubles, while amassing a 10-8 record with Reinoud Haal, Nikita Zotov, and Tom Mroziewicz.

Iowa head coach Steve Houghton said that makes the family support more special.

“We have some amazing support,” the 29-year coach said. “I’m impressed people come from so far. Everyone’s really nice and people have become friends.”

However, nobody has come farther this season than the family of No. 1 singles player Marc Bruche. Bruche’s mother, Heidi, and his aunt and uncle, Silvia and Hermann Abel, flew the 4,500 miles from Hoelsbrunn, Germany, over Easter weekend to watch the sophomore clinch Iowa’s 4-3 win over Penn State in a three-hour singles match.

“My parents had never been to the U.S., and neither had my aunt and uncle,” Bruche said of his family members, who visited his brother in Phoenix before stopping in Iowa City on the way home.

“It was nice to show them around and show them what I do. It’s great to have the support and have people you know next to the court. I think it’s a big deal for the whole team.”

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