Carefree on the tennis court

BY BEN ROSS | APRIL 21, 2011 7:20 AM

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In many ways, Will Vasos is a living extension of his hometown of Fort Collins, Colo.

He's been described as an easy going, overall nice guy who's fun to be around.

"People are definitely carefree in Fort Collins," said Vasos, the No. 2 singles player on the Iowa men's tennis team. "And I may have adopted the lifestyle."

Vasos had options out of high school, Michigan State and Louisville among them. But in the end his Fort Collins and familial pedigree won out.

Both of his parents were Hawkeyes: mother Becky, whom Vasos described as "extremely feisty and hardworking" and father Joe, "a laid-back and funny guy."

Those are terms now used to describe Vasos, a junior who leads his team in wins this season with a 12-6 singles record.

Vasos committed to the Hawkeyes early in his senior year of high school and "has loved every minute of it." He went 84-5 in high school and didn't lose a match as a senior.

It's not in Vasos' personality to second-guess — and why would he? Since trading the mountains for cornfields, Vasos has seen extensive action, appearing in doubles and the No. 4 singles spot in his first-ever match for the Hawkeyes in 2009, his freshman year. Since then, he has posted an overall singles record of 38-25. Teammates and coaches alike said Vasos has brought an excellent work ethic and attitude to the Hawkeyes.

"He leads by example and through actions," teammate Tom Mroziewicz said. "Will is always putting effort into fitness and being a good role model for the other players. He's got a pretty special game, and people can admire his work ethic, along with a really easy personality to get along with."

Head coach Steve Houghton lauded Vasos' talents and attitude and sees constant improvement. In particular, he cited Vasos' forehand and aggression as strengths.

"He's always been a hard worker since he's been here," Houghton said. "He's very aggressive, a good performer since the beginning; he's gone up the ladder from 4 to 2. He keeps getting better and is well liked by the guys."

In addition to his singles wins, Vasos has posted a 12-4 record in doubles with partner Marc Bruche. He was also a part of one of the best Hawkeyes' wins in recent memory, a 4-3 upset victory over No. 40 Michigan during the 2009 season.

"He's an all-around good guy. He's always joking around," said Tommy McGeorge, Vasos' partner in the Michigan win, who graduated last year. "He's a very good tennis player."

In addition to Vasos' tennis abilities, friends and coaches talk about his infectious attitude. It could be the reason senior men's golfer Brad Hopfinger has continued to live with Vasos since arriving on campus.

"We've been roommates since we both lived in Hillcrest," Hopfinger said. "He's a real laid-back kind of a guy, easy to get along with. Nothing really seems to bother him, he doesn't let the small stuff get to him and not really picky at all."

In addition to tracing his chill personality to his parents and his Fort Collins roots, Vasos said his favorite professional tennis player, No. 25 Marcos Baghdatis, is a role model.

"I like Marcos Baghdatis because I have a little Greek in me," Vasos said. "He's always smiling on the court. He doesn't take it too seriously."

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