By Andrew Smith
In recent memory, men’s tennis has remained near the top of their competition. After finishing last season with a winning record and reaching the semifinals, the Panthers have carried this excellent momentum into 2023. A large part of their recent success is sophomore management major Viktor Hockl, who had a debut season to remember in 2022. Hockl, an international student from Enns, Austria, captured the NE10 Rookie of the Year Award (3rd time in program history) and was named to the NE10 All-Conference Second Team.
Hockl looked back on his accomplishments. “Personally, I think that I played an average season. I was struggling to adjust to the conditions, the opponents and the atmosphere of college tennis as a whole,” he said. “From a personal perspective, my win against SNHU and solid performances in all regular season conference games stuck out to me. I grew a lot last year. The mind games, competitiveness and borderline behavior in reference to sportsmanship came unexpectedly. I think I developed and grew especially mentally a lot last year.” The management major credited his parents as being essential to his athletic development. “Growing up in Austria, my parents and family supported me a lot on my way to being the tennis player I am now. They helped me in school, traveled to tournaments in all of Europe with me, took me to my practices every day, and did everything possible to make my life as a student-athlete a little bit easier. They taught me to believe in myself and to always keep fighting for my dreams.”
While only in his second season, Hockl feels he has been part of the Adelphi family for much longer and has already established long-lasting friendships. He shared a recent memory that inspired him as a player, even though it was a difficult team loss.
“We played Southern New Hampshire in the semi-final of the playoffs,” he said. “We beat them in the regular season and another win would take us to the final. However, everything went against us and we lost. Everybody was devastated, and there were even some tears.”
Hockl explained how he saw this loss as an opportunity to become motivated. “I feel like this moment made us so much stronger, more united, and it showed us that we are good enough to win the first conference title in Adelphi’s history. On this day, I learned what it means to be a part of a team that is like a family and what it means to represent Adelphi on the tennis court.”
Moments like this encourage Hockl to work even harder in the off-season. During the summer, the sophomore would spend hours on the court daily and even participated in several tournaments in his home country and Germany. “I feel like my level of tennis, physicality and mental strength has never been that high. I definitely got confidence playing and winning a lot of matches,” Hockl said.
His determination and perseverance have already paid off, as Hockl has begun the season with a personal 2-0 record and the overall team record is also perfect. The Panthers defeated Franklin Pierce University and Southern New Hampshire University in their opening matches.
“Our goal this year is to finally win the first conference title in the program’s history and make the regionals. We play in fall and spring this year, so it is going to be a very long season,” Hockl said.