Quick Chat: Blake Croyder – University of Georgia Athletics
By Jean Frierson
Blake Croyder enjoys being part of the Georgia men’s tennis family. History, traditions, connections between players past and present are all part of what makes a Bulldog special.
A senior from Marietta, Georgia, Croyder and the 11th-seeded Bulldogs will kick off their NCAA Tournament at 2 p.m. Friday, hosting Alabama State in the first round at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The winner of this game will face the winner of Florida State-Georgia State at 4 p.m. Saturday.
During a quick chat before practice Thursday, Croyder opened up about his tennis debut, the player he most admires, his cooking skills and more. Here is part of what he had to say:
Frisian: Who is the first player you watched and admired?
Croyder: Professionally, I would say Andy Murray. He’s my favorite player – he’s just super solid on the pitch and he’s just inspiring. Right now (following hip replacement surgery) he’s trying to come back and I think that’s great.
In the team, I would say Walker Duncan. He was a senior my freshman year, so he was a great role model for me on how to truly be a Bulldog.
Frisian: When did you start to take a serious interest in tennis? Did you play several sports and tennis ended up being your favourite?
Croyder: I played football and tennis growing up and I think when I was around 11 I decided to quit football and focus mainly on tennis.
Frisian: When did you know you were good? When did you realize you had a future in the sport beyond being a good junior player?
Croyder: It was probably late 14s (14 and under) or early 16s. I think I did pretty well in singles and doubles at the national clay championships (USTA) and national hard court championships in the 14’s and then in the 16’s I had done the singles and doubles quarters in Kalamazoo (USTA National Championships). I would say that’s when I knew.
Frisian: What could you eat every day and never tire of it?
Croyder: Chick-fil-A, of course. It’s the benchmark for me and all the guys on our team. I get sandwiches, nuggets, strips, grilled stuff. It’s just how you feel during the day.
Frisian: As a guy who’s been in college for a while now, have you taught yourself how to cook?
Croyder: Yes definitely. It’s a lot of chicken and rice – honestly it’s my favorite meal, but I can also cook other things like steak and salmon.
Frisian: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?
Croyder: I don’t know, a lot of people say I am, but I should give it to Trent Bryde right now. Tristan McCormick is really funny too.
Frisian: What has this season been like with the addition of Tristan and Hamish Stewarttwo transfer grads who obviously have a ton of experience?
Croyder: It’s good — they provided so much leadership and energy to our team. Having them here has been a privilege, and they will certainly be greatly missed next year.
Frisian: As a Georgian student-athlete, how did you feel watching the football team win the national championship this season?
Croyder: It was crazy. I remember when I was, I think, a senior in high school, it was when they beat Oklahoma (in the Rose Bowl) and lost to ‘Bama in the national championship. To see this when I’m not even in school yet, to see how passionate people are about football, and then to be able to see them win a national championship, it was just unreal.
Frisian: In a perfect world, what are you doing in 10 years?
Croyder: Ten years? I don’t know, I probably work in finance somewhere [laughs]. That would be the goal, I think.
Frisian: How does it feel to be part of this program that has achieved so much and has a very tight group of men of letters and alumni?
Croyder: It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen for any other team, ever. The constant support we get from all the alumni who come to our games, it’s just different. How everyone is so tightly bonded even after I’m done playing tennis for Georgia, I think it’s just an amazing family.
(This Q&A has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Deputy director of sports communication Jean Frierson is the UGA Sports Team Writer and Curator of the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. You can find his work at: Frierson Files. He is also on Twitter: @FrersonFiles and @ITAHallofFame.