Lizen's journey from a small island to UVA

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia captain Aswin Lizen is an unassuming figure on the court, standing at only 5'8", but opponents across the country know they are facing a fighter.

"If you ask what people know about Aswin in college tennis, that's exactly what they think," Virginia men's tennis Coach Andres Pedroso said, "Just someone that's never going to give up and someone that's going to do whatever it takes."

Growing up Lizen was one of the few kids to pick up the sport of tennis on the Isle of Man, a small island of 80,000 people between England and Ireland.

"The club that I grew up playing at had three courts, three outdoor courts and one indoor court," Lizen said, "Which it rains way more than it does in England, so one indoor court isn't really ideal."

Lizen's passion for the sport moved him to Barcelona at the age of 13-years-old providing a new opportunity to grow in the game.

"Any time you see a young man or a kid that doesn't have that many opportunities to play tennis," Pedroso said, "They're only going to be more enthusiastic about the sport and it's just a matter of getting them in the right spot at the right time."

Despite knowing little about college tennis, that right spot proved to be UVA, arriving on grounds just in time for two national titles.

"Any happiness that I've gotten from winning an individual match is nothing compared to some of the team wins we've had," Lizen said.

That experience prepared Lizen for a new coach, a young team and the opportunity to lead as a two-time team captain.

"He was around for two national championships, so he saw what it took and he saw the culture that it took to get to that point," Pedroso said of Lizen's experience.

"Now I'm the one who has way more memories than they do and all I can tell them is how much they have to look forward to," Lizen said.

From humble beginnings, Lizen's never stopped fighting for success.

"He's earned every bit of it, nothing's come easy for him," Pedroso said, "He's not the biggest guy, so all the points that he plays are going to be long and grueling."

"I'm so grateful that I was able to come from that tiny tennis club and be able to play at the highest level in college," Lizen said.



 
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