After winning five straight matches, including two monumental comebacks, freshman Elliot Garwood made it to the finals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s invitational on Sept. 28, an unheard of result for an Ohio Wesleyan tennis player.
Garwood won his first two matches in straight sets, beating his opponents 6-3 6-2 and 6-0 6-1. The rounds that followed, however, did not go exactly as planned.
“I knew that I would have to face adversity heading into the tournament as every tournament almost always has something unexpected to offer,” Garwood said.
He found himself behind after dropping the first set in his third round matchup.
Garwood rallied and came back to win the second set 6-2 and third set tiebreak 10-6 to win the match.
Later in the day he was again trailing, but this time with an even bigger mountain to climb.
Down 6-1 5-0 and with a match point against, his odds of coming back were slim, to say the least. “(My opponent) had a match point but I managed to rally and come back to win that game along with the next game which made the scoreline 5-2,” Garwood said.
“Then my opponent started to cramp in the legs which changed the entire complexity of the match and ultimately enabled me to win the second set 7-5 and the third set tiebreak 10-4.”
Garwood regained his energy the next day to get a 6-1 6-4 result in the semis to send him straight through to the finals. “Elliot made it all the way to the finals of his draw. It was an unprecedented performance by a men’s tennis player at OWU,” Head Coach Tom Drabczyk said. “Elliot is one of many freshman that look to contribute a lot this year. We are projecting starting one sophomore and potentially five freshman in singles.”
Although losing in the finals, Garwood is excited with the way he played and overall glad to be a part of the OWU tennis program: “We look to build the tennis program through continuous work ethic and a willingness to get better each and every day. This is a great team that doesn’t care who gets the recognition, but just wants to win,” he said.