Brayden Schnur followed an unusual path to his first college tennis match as a Tar Heel.
While the North Carolina men’s tennis team competed in several tournaments throughout the fall, Schnur was busy traveling the world competing in the ATP world tour as a professional athlete.
At 18 years of age, he reached his career-high ATP singles world ranking of 547.
Now, he is currently playing the No. 1 singles and doubles position for UNC.
He played his first two matches in Carolina blue Friday against East Carolina and Wofford College.
The Tar Heels won both matches 7-0, and Schnur went 4-0.
“I really enjoyed it today. It’s a different experience, but it’s a lot more motivating playing in front of more people,” Schnur said.
“It’s different, and hopefully I get used to it quickly.”
Coach Sam Paul said that he was pleased with his team’s performance as well as Schnur’s contributions to the team’s victories.
“He’s a very good player, and we’re extremely happy to have him here,” Paul said.
“We knew coming in that he’s a very good player, and he had some great wins today.”
Two of Schnur’s victories came in doubles matches.
He and sophomore Brett Clark played the No. 1 seed and won both matches 6-2.
The duo has only trained together for two weeks since Schnur’s arrival in January, but they complement each other well.
“It’s a great fit. He’s a great player and a great doubles player,” Clark said.
“We’ve been having fun, and hopefully we can get more wins like that.”
Clark added that all of the freshmen have had a significant impact on the tennis program at the start of this season.
“They work extremely hard. They are very excited to play their first college match,” he said.
“They are all great players, very talented, and that’s why they are playing.”
UNC’s four freshmen represent three different countries — Schnur is from Canada, Johan Skattum from Norway and Jack Murray and Ronnie Schneider from the United States.
“We’ve got a really deep team, and we know that it’s a good problem that we have,” Paul said.
“We have a lot of players that are very capable of competing.”
Monday afternoon, Schnur and the Tar Heels traveled to Richmond, Va., where the freshman continued his early success.
In defeating No. 78 Alexis Heugas in singles, Schnur dealt the Virginia Commonwealth senior his first loss in a home dual match in his career and clinched a win for the Tar Heels.
UNC took the match 5-2 , and later swept Howard 7-0.
Schnur did not compete in the match against the Bison .
But after miles traveled, Schnur has finally found his footing in Chapel Hill.
And after just one weekend into his Tar Heel career, the freshman already has five victories to his name.
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