Iowa men's tennis touts freshman


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Nils Hallestrand will try to draw attention to the program early in the season as the only freshman.

Hallestrand is one of four international students on the team, and this addition seems to be a trend for head coach Steve Houghton and the rest of the team.

The freshman from Danderyd, Sweden, has proven himself in Sweden — he played for the Swedish National Team and was on the 2013 national runner-up club team for outdoor tennis. In 2008, Hallestrand was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country after winning the boys’ 14 national doubles championship in Sweden.

Hallestrand is one of nine players set to travel to West Lafayette for the Purdue Invitational, which kicks off today. 

“I’ve had a tremendous time so far,” he said. “The facility is great, great [number of] possibilities, great guys on the team.”

Getting started young was a big part of Hallestrand’s success.

“I’ve been playing tennis since I was 6 years old,” he said. “My cousins played a lot along with their father, and the tennis club was around 50 meters from our house, so it was pretty accessible.”

Hallestrand has a harder time bonding with the team when he is the only freshman on the team.

“It is a bit lonely being the only tennis freshman in the dorms, but I am learning very valuable things about college,” he said.

He looks forward to learning from his experienced team after not being able to train with them this summer because he was sick and as a result, missed a significant amount of time.

“The toughest part was probably getting into practicing hard again,” he said. “My conditioning when I came in was pretty bad.”

Doubles is something that Houghton is especially excited to see Hallestrand compete in this season because he was only able to watch Hallestrand on video when he was recruiting him.

“[Nils] looked really good on video … particularly good around the net,” the coach said. “I figured he would probably be a good doubles player, which he is … I’m anxious to see Nils play.”

Hallestrand is not the only member of the team making his Iowa début. Redshirt senior Brian Alden, a transfer from Florida State, will make his first appearance as a Hawkeye.

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