Slim Hamza finally joined the team in January of 2012 after a very successful junior career. Born and raised in Kairouan, Tunisia Hamza reached as high as #69 on the ITF World Rankings, made it to the 2nd round of the 2010 Junior Australian Open and the round of 16 at the 2009 Orange Bowl.
He is part of the Tunisian Davis Cup team and competed for them in singles and doubles at and against Great Britain in March 2011. He earned his first ATP points in 2010 at age 18.
So far Slim is 7-1 in singles action, playing mainly at the #3 position and 7-1 in doubles action for the Utes.
QUESTION: Slim, welcome to Utah. You have been here now for a couple of months. What is your first impression?
HAMZA: I am so glad that i’m here in Salt Lake City, studying in one of the best universities in the world. Before coming here I had heard so much about the University of Utah and i’m really impressed with everything around me. The campus is huge and the weather is so nice. I really like it here.
QUESTION: You have played all over the world, what do you think of the level of tennis?
HAMZA: It’s true that I have played all over the world in so many junior tournaments earning a good world ranking. The level of tennis here is very good, but playing in international tournaments is way different than playing in college. Playing for the U is like playing for the national team; we are one team, all fighting together for one goal, which is to win! That’s the most important thing about it.
QUESTION: How are the practices different from those in Tunisia?
HAMZA: The practices are really much better than those in Tunisia. The coaches are great and always helping me improve both on and off the court. But most importantly everyone is giving his best to improve. It’s like a family taking care of each other.
QUESTION: What has surprised you the most so far?
HAMZA: The thing that surprised me the most so far are all the accommodations available to student-athletes. It is really great! Since I have been here everything has been taken care of and everything is available for us to be successful. I think that is excellent.
QUESTION: You seemed a little nervous in the home opener against Weber State, but since then you have really found a groove. How do you look back at your first two months?
HAMZA: My first match against Weber State was very hard for me because that was my first official match for the U. I wanted to start well and leave a good first impression. Although, I was well prepared for it, I was a little nervous. Lots of people came out to our first match, which was very exciting. But my teammates were there for me and the crowd was cheering for me, which really helped me. It was a good win for me and a good way to start my career here.
QUESTION: You have represented your country in Davis Cup and you have played in many big tournaments around the world. How have your experiences helped you prepare for college tennis?
HAMZA: It’s important for me to represent my country in Davis Cup. It was an unbelievable experience playing against England. I got to play against some great player, such as Murray/Fleming in doubles and Jamie Baker in singles. The same goes for competing at the Aussie Open and the Orange Bowl, competing against top ranked players has helped me get ready for college tennis.
QUESTION: What is your goal this year?
HAMZA: I am working very hard to improve my skills each and every day and it is my goal this year to play and win every match. I hope that will help the team to be ranked very high at the end of the year.