College Spotlight: Houston Barrick, Virginia

Houston Barrick, a 6-foot, 2-inch junior from Brentwood, Tenn., is co-captain of the top-ranked men's University of Virginia tennis team. Currently ranked fourth in doubles with partner Sanam Singh and 69th in singles, Barrick posted great results at the ITA National Team Indoor, winning the team title and also taking home an all-tournament team selection at No. 1 doubles. Barrick, who turns 20 on April 7, recently took time from his busy schedule to answer some questions for USTA.com.



Houston Barrick
© Matt Riley/UVa Media Relations



USTA.com: You were one of the top recruits in the class of 2007. Why did you choose Virginia?

Houston Barrick: It was just the perfect package for me. I wanted to further my tennis career but also get a good education. Virginia allowed for me to do both things at a very high level.

USTA.com: What advice would you give to junior players on the recruiting process?

Houston Barrick: Have fun with the entire process. Some of my greatest memories come from my recruiting trips around the country. Enjoy it to the fullest, and don’t get too stressed.

USTA.com: You had a great weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor, winning the team title and also coming home an all-tournament team selection at No. 1 doubles. Does this amp up the pressure for you and your teammates, or does it help boost your confidence?

Houston Barrick: I think it can only help us going forward. Of course, it gave us great confidence, but we realize that there are great teams out there. We have to continue to work hard every day, and hopefully we will have similar results like we did in Chicago.

USTA.com: You have a reputation as a “team guy,” even returning to junior play after your first season at UVA to represent the Southern Section at the National Jr. Team Championships in Champaign. What’s so great about team play for you?

Houston Barrick: Team competition is so fun for me. I grew up playing team sports and enjoyed the team atmosphere. Individual sports are great, but there is nothing like being on a team with a group of guys that share the same aspirations as you do. I could not think of a better group of guys to be teammates with than here at UVA.

USTA.com: This year you are a veteran on a fairly young team. How has your role changed?

Houston Barrick: It has pretty much reversed. I came in as a 17-year-old who really had no idea what college tennis was all about. Treat [Huey], Somdev [Devvarman] and Teddy [Angelinos] were great leaders for me in my first two years. I learned so much on and off the court from those guys. Now, I am one of the older guys, so it’s a little weird for me. I have enjoyed it so far, and I hope that the younger guys can learn some things from me, as well.

USTA.com: There are some big rivalries in the ACC. What match do you look forward to each spring?

Houston Barrick: This is a tough one. The ACC is such a competitive conference that it’s tough to choose. I’d have to say North Carolina. We have had some great matches with the Tar Heels.

USTA.com: Who has the rowdiest fans?

Houston Barrick: This is an easy one. I’d say Illinois and our fans here at UVA.

USTA.com: Describe a typical day for you -- class, practice, strength and conditioning, etc.

Houston Barrick: Well, usually I have class in the morning, then an individual sometime before practice. Practice is usually a couple of hours. Then I grab some dinner and unfortunately do homework most of the time after practice. During the week, the days are all pretty similar.

USTA.com: Virginia is well known for its academics. Is it difficult to balance all your classes and schoolwork with your tennis? Any tips?

Houston Barrick: It is not that bad, actually. The professors here at UVA are usually pretty understanding of the challenges that student-athletes face on a daily basis.

USTA.com: What is your major? What do you plan to do with your degree after college?

Houston Barrick: Government. That is a good question. The economy isn’t looking too hot, so we will just have to see in a year.

USTA.com: What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

Houston Barrick: Playing golf is my favorite hobby outside tennis. Some of the other guys on the team and I have a golfing tournament we call the “classic.” It is a lot of fun to get outside and enjoy some of the great courses in Charlottesville.

USTA.com: What are your goals for yourself and for your team this season?

Houston Barrick: Of course, we are looking toward College Station and the National Championships. It will be a long road for us, but hopefully we will be there in the end.

USTA.com: Any desire to try the pro tour after college?

Houston Barrick: Of course. I would love to try and make a career out of tennis.

USTA.com: What’s the best advice you’ve received during your tennis career?

Houston Barrick: “You can’t determine how well you will play each day, but your desire and fight you have control over.” – Tony Bresky

USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior players who want to play college tennis?

Houston Barrick: There is nothing better than college tennis. The atmosphere and team aspect make it one of the great college sports. I would say to just work hard in juniors and get your name out to coaches as much as possible. Playing lots of tournaments is a great way to advertise yourself, as well as to improve your tennis game.

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