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"Lefty" with worlds of potential

BY BLAKE DOWSON | MARCH 10, 2015 5:00 AM

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In the game of tennis, there is a certain level of fire and tenacity that a player must possess in order to become great.

Lefteris Theodorou has that fire and tenacity. And then some.

Anyone who has watched Theodorou, or “Lefty,” as his team calls him, would say the exact same thing.

“Lefty has a knack for sucking the crowd into his matches,” interim head coach Ross Wilson said. “He’s so athletic, and it makes him fun to watch.”

Theodorou no doubt got his athletic ability from his parents, both of whom played basketball for the Greek National team.

Just a freshman, he makes it a regular occurrence chasing down balls he should not get to, extending rallies when he looks beat, and winning at the net with his superb athleticism.

“I’ve been playing well,” he said. “I’ve won a lot of matches, and I’m really confident.”

Theodorou is 8-2 this season for the Hawkeyes, playing in the No. 3 singles slot.

With all of the success and potential that he has shown, it is hard to think about not being a part of the Iowa program.

However, Wilson said that was almost the case.

“We were talking to him during the summer, and he was looking elsewhere,” Wilson said. “He had it narrowed down to a few schools. I watched him play in Carson City last April, and he played well. I persuaded him to visit Iowa, his last visit, and he loved it.”

Theodorou said his decision boiled down to the opportunity to start a tradition at Iowa.

“Ross [Wilson] wanted Iowa to get better,” he said. “I wanted to build from scratch with the other three freshmen. I wanted a new start and an opportunity to make a name for us. I wanted to be involved in the first year of new change here.”

During Hawkeye tennis matches, the freshman is consistently one of the most talented players on either side. As far as how high his ceiling can be, even Wilson is not sure.

“He can be a top-50 player,” Wilson said. “When that will happen, I don’t know. He has all the tools to get it done. He just has to keep working and add to his game. That takes hours in the summer.”
Assistant coach Ty Schaub echoed Wilson’s thoughts.

“As far as pure athleticism, there is no ceiling,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how good he can be.”

With all of the upside that Theodorou possesses, there are certain aspects to his game that need work. Perhaps the most physically talented player on the team, he struggles at times with the mental side of the game.

“He needs to compete every day,” Wilson said. “This is the first time he’s had seven other guys at practice who want to beat him. He needs that undying will to win.”

For Theodorou, it is just a matter of putting the pieces together, something he feels that his teammates have helped with.

“Playing to win for Iowa and my teammates gets me going,” Theodorou said. “Matt [Hagan] and Dom [Patrick] have showed me how to compete. I look up to them. I just want to try to win as much as possible for this team.”

Follow @B_Dows4 for news, analysis, and updates on the Iowa men’s tennis team.


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