Big 12 Campus Correspondent
France-to-Texas is not your typical recruiting pipeline.
So a pair of young tennis players growing up in France could not have imagined that 15 years from the time they first met, both would be traveling across the pond to play for The University of Texas Men’s Tennis program.
UT’s junior newcomers Adrien Berkowicz and Clement Homs were your typical French kids, playing the traditional sports of tennis and soccer in their youth before realizing their passion and focus would solely be on the sport of tennis. The pair started training at the same tennis club before reaching 10 years of age.
“Clement and I have known each other since we were six-year-old,” Berkowicz reminisced. “We had so much in common from an early age that our friendship just clicked from day one. ”
The duo developed as tennis juniors attached at the hip, but when it came to choosing colleges Berkowicz and Homs forged different paths to the Forty Acres. Berkowicz decided early to attend college and play team tennis in the United States, while Homs would go to the local Aix-Marseille University and continue his individual training.
Berkowicz, the top-ranked player in the junior college ranks last season, attended Vincennes University in Indiana for a year before transferring to Tyler Junior College in Texas for the 2012-13 season. Winning individual and team national titles at both colleges, Texas head coach Michael Center didn’t hesitate to sign Berkowicz on January 3, 2013.
“Every report that I got back about Adrien was so positive,” Center said. “His character is really high, his tennis is really good and he has been a great fit here at Texas.”
After signing Berkowicz, Center and associate head coach Ricardo Rubio found out about Homs and his exceptional tennis resume, including victories over ATP World Top 200 opponents, and signed him on May 1, 2013.
They arrived at UT in August and have been turning heads at the Division I level ever since. Entering the last two matches of the regular season, Berkowicz and Homs combine for a 27-4 singles record for the top-10 Longhorns. Berkowicz has the most overall singles wins on the team (25-7, 15-4 dual) and Homs hasn’t lost a match since October (19-4, 12-0 dual).
“Physically I have gotten so much better,” Berkowicz says. “Practice is so much harder here and you want to do your best because of the pressure and you are part of a great team and great school so you try hard to win. Coach Center has a lot of skills and experience, so he tells us little things that improve your game physically and mentally.”
There was a lot demanded of them both on the court and in the classroom but having a familiar face always around was a huge help with the transition.
“It is great to have someone with you when experiencing a brand new culture and it is even better to share it with someone you have known forever,” Homs said.