Former Tennis Pro’s Journey From Sportsman to Scholar

Aerial view of Wimbledon

From Wimbledon to business school.
Image: Shutterstock

Brendan Evans grew up as a professional tennis player, joining the professional circuit at the age of 15. When his professional career ended, he decided to continue his education at the University of Virginia in the prestigious McIntire School of Commerce. In honor of his recent graduation, I wanted to share his inspirational story as proof that it is never too late to go back to school.

Evans is no academic slouch. He is graduating from The McIntire School of Commerce, which is regarded as one of the nation’s finest business schools, with highly-ranked programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. One of the School’s best assets is the McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board, a helpful link between the School of Commerce, its students, and public businesses and communities. The Advisory Board is made up of competent alumni from the School of Commerce, including Jeffrey R. Anderson Jr., Robbert Vorhoff, Robert D. Daley, and Susan Conniff, among many others.

Evans has enjoyed a storied career, full of both triumph and defeat. He signed a deal with Nike in 2001 as a sponsor for five years, worth $1.25 million. He was also featured as a character in the tennis video game Top Spin 2 on the Xbox 360 video game console in 2006. He enjoyed the company of famous tennis players including Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, and James Blake.

At 18 years old, Evans won the doubles title at the 2004 Wimbledon Junior Championships. In fact, he played on Wimbledon’s grass courts six more times over the course of his career. In 2010, he advanced to the second round and came incredibly close to defeating Albert Montañés, who at the time was ranked #28 in the entire world.

Had he won that match, he would have advanced to Centre Court, the main stage at Wimbledon, and played against the Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic.

After that match, he was eventually sidelined due to chronic injuries. It was then that Evans began to seriously consider his education. During his career, Evans’s education wasn’t typical. At 15, he was homeschooled at his Florida training center, which resulted in his education dueling with his tennis career. Naturally, this peculiar mixture of intense practices and studying didn’t provide the optimal educational experience.

Evans decided that he wanted to full college experience with a great campus and business school where he could get away from his tennis life and focus on his education. Therefore, Evans chose the prestigious McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

The transition from tennis pro to successful college scholar wasn’t an easy one. However, Evans powered through adversity and enjoyed many accolades and successes while at the University of Virginia. After a successful college career, Evans will soon see the fruits of his labor, having earned a position with famous investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, where he will begin in July.

Evans’s story is a great reminder that it is never too late to go back to school. As long as you have the tenacity and work ethic to try your hardest, it is never too late to live your dreams.

For more information about his inspirational story, check out this in-depth article from the University of Virginia.


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