Ohio State sophomore Chase Buchanan joined the Buckeyes during the spring semester of 2008 as the No. 1-ranked junior player in the nation and has been going strong ever since. The 18-year-old from New Albany, Ohio, earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors for the fifth time this season earlier this week, after posting a 4-0 record, including a 3-0 mark at No. 1 singles and doubles April 2 and April 4 against conference opponents Iowa and Minnesota. Buchanan, who was also honored the weeks of Feb. 2, Feb. 23, March 9 and March 16, has tallied an impressive 18-4 record this season, including a 14-1 mark in dual-match play. Currently ranked 12th in the ITA Rankings, Buchanan recently took time to answer some questions for USTA.com about why he chose Ohio State, how college prepared him for his outstanding summer results in 2009, when he won the USTA Boys' 18s National Championships and reached the US Open boys' singles final, and much more.
Ohio State sophomore Chase Buchanan
© Ohio State Athletics
USTA.com: You were one of the top recruits in the class of 2009 and chose to enter college early—enrolling in the spring semester of 2008. Tell us a little about the recruiting process and why you chose Ohio State.
Chase Buchanan: In the recruiting process, it was basically a done deal from the start. Being from Columbus, I grew up a Buckeye and always loved Ohio State. The major reason for me choosing Ohio State, though, was Ty Tucker. I knew what he had done with the program and knew he could help take my game to where I wanted to take it.
USTA.com: What were the biggest challenges you faced entering school in the spring and joining the team in the middle of the dual-match season?
Chase Buchanan: It was a tough adjustment, coming in the middle of the season and not knowing the system at Ohio State. College tennis was much more difficult than I thought it would be, and I hadn’t gone to school for about three years in a classroom.
USTA.com: How are things different now that you have your freshman year under your belt?
Chase Buchanan: After having played a year now in college, I know what to expect every day against the top guys in the country. I also have become accustomed to the system here at Ohio State and figured out how I can help the team and myself the best way possible.
USTA.com: Over the summer, you had a pretty good run, winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., and reaching the singles final of the US Open Junior Championships. Tell us a little about your experiences at those tournaments.
Chase Buchanan: This summer had some definite highlights in my career. I gained a lot of confidence from Kalamazoo and US Open juniors by beating the top players my age and playing in some huge matches. I learned a lot about what I will need to do in order to take my game to the pro level.
USTA.com: Did your college experience help you at these events?
Chase Buchanan: I couldn’t say enough about how Ohio State has prepared me for these events. I worked hard with Ty Tucker and was confident that I was practicing with the best guys and doing the work I needed to do in order to compete at these events.
USTA.com: As a student-athlete, free time is tough to find. What do you like to do in your “spare” time?
Chase Buchanan: In my spare time, I like to hang out with the guys on the team and my friends at school. There’s a lot of fun stuff to do on campus, so it isn’t very hard to get distracted. Usually, though, when I have free time, I’m trying to catch up on my sleep. Ha ha!
USTA.com: You are definitely an exciting player to watch. Who have been your major influences on the court?
Chase Buchanan: Al Matthews, Ty Tucker, David Kass and the USTA have all played vital roles in my development, and I couldn’t be more thankful to any of them.
USTA.com: What are your goals for yourself and for your team this season?
Chase Buchanan: My goals for myself are pretty simple – develop the most that I can every day and do whatever I can do to help this team go as far as it can. I hope that our team can make it back to another National Championship match and come out on top. I think that if we keep getting better throughout the rest of the season we are going to be a tough team to beat.
USTA.com: Columbus has some rough winters, and you tend to play a lot of home matches indoors. How do you and your teammates prepare for outdoor play—and the heat—at NCAAs?
Chase Buchanan: Starting in March, we are outdoors the rest of the year. So that gives us over two months of preparation to be ready to play outdoors. I think that after the first couple of weeks we will be acclimated, especially with how hard we train and the coaching we have.
USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior tennis players who want to play in college?
Chase Buchanan: I think that it can be a great opportunity to take your game to the next level and mature as a person for the rest of your life. There are a lot of great schools out there that offer you what is not easy to find in this day and age. If you go into school with the right attitude, I think it can be as productive, if not more productive, than struggling on tour for a few years. In college, you can really improve and grow up as a person – and that is priceless.