Kyle McMorrow, a junior at the University of Washington, recently earned a spot to compete in his second straight NCAA Singles Championships. Ranked No. 22 in the ITA National Men's Singles Rankings, McMorrow has notched five wins this season over other players who have also made the tournament field, including two victories over No. 6 seed Evan King of Michigan.
A native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., McMorrow has a 22-11 overall singles record in 2012 and has been ranked as high as No. 9 nationally. He recently took time to talk with USTA.com about the recruitment process, his biggest on-court accomplishments and his aspirations for the future.
USTA.com: As one of the top-ranked juniors in the nation, you were recruited by a number of top programs. Why did you select Washington?
Kyle McMorrow: I was born in Olympia, Wash., and lived in the area until I was 11 years old. I wanted to be a Husky when I was a little kid. I always considered it a top choice for me. When I learned more about the program and got to know the coaching staff and the guys on the team, I knew it was a great fit.
USTA.com: What advice would you give to juniors on the recruiting process?
Kyle McMorrow: Just be very thorough. Learn everything there is to know about the program before making a decision. Know what you’re looking for, as well. If you are a raw player who still needs to develop, then picking a school with a great coach who really knows the game is very important.
USTA.com: Your coach, Matt Anger, was a former top player himself at USC and later on the ATP Tour. What have you learned from him over the last three seasons?
Kyle McMorrow: I’ve learned so much from Coach Anger. He’s taught me to really understand the intricacies of the game. There were so many shots I struggled with when I first got to school. Coach Anger has helped me develop into a more well-rounded player.
USTA.com: What’s a normal day for you on campus -- practice, class, strength and conditioning, fun, etc.?
Kyle McMorrow: This quarter I have a great schedule. I’m taking two online classes, so I only have class twice a week from 8:30-10:20 a.m. I try to use the extra time to get extra tennis or fitness in. Our team generally will practice for around two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon. We’ll do anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half of fitness, depending on the day or the season. I don’t have much time for fun during the week, but I’m a huge NBA fan, so I’m enjoying the playoffs as much as I can right now.
USTA.com: Washington is well known for its academics. How do you balance your tennis and your studies?
Kyle McMorrow: It’s definitely tough, but Washington has a great academic support staff for the athletes. It would be a lot tougher without the extra help.
USTA.com: As a junior, you’ve now played on the road a lot. What’s the toughest venue to play at? What match do you most look forward to?
Kyle McMorrow: I’ve had some frat boys, who might have had a few too many, yell some interesting things at me over the last few years. Our team just found out that we are on our way to Pepperdine for NCAA’s next week, so right now, our match against NC State at Pepperdine is what I’m looking forward to.
USTA.com: What’s your biggest accomplishment on court?
Kyle McMorrow: The matches that I really enjoy looking back on are the close dual-match wins over the last three years. I’ve come up clutch a few times for the Dawgs in tight 4-3 matches. It’s a great feeling, winning for your team, coaches and school, as well as for yourself. Specifically, our matches against Cal last year and Cal Poly this year come to mind.
USTA.com: Any aspirations to play professionally after college?
Kyle McMorrow: I would love to play professional tennis. It’s been my dream since I decided to take the game seriously at around 13 years old. My plan is to work as hard as I can over the next few years and then reassess if I want to keep going. I feel like I still have a lot to develop in my game. I’m a lot better than I was two years ago. I hope in another two I’ll be a lot better than I am now.
USTA.com: What will Kyle McMorrow be doing in 10 years?
Kyle McMorrow: Hopefully I’ll be a college graduate with a degree in communications. I would love to still be playing tennis, but if not, I’d like to take advantage of my degree from the UW.