Francis Sargeant: A rising tennis star excels internationally

By on September 9, 2013.

Francis Sargeant, a junior tennis player studying sociology with a minor in mathematics, discovered the game of tennis when he was 5.

Since that time, the game he loves has brought him to BYU from his native Britain and back again.

“I had a lot of energy as a kid so my mom put me in a ton of sports when I was younger. I did hockey, football, soccer, swimming and tennis,” said Sargeant. “I enjoyed tennis the most and stuck with it.”

Fifteen years later, Sargeant has experienced major success on tennis courts around the world. Sargeant ranked No. 1 nationally in the U.K. under 18 (Singles) in 2010 and 2011 and was the 2010 Kent County Junior Player of the Year. In addition to being ranked No. 1 on the BYU men’s tennis team, Sargeant also recently beat world-ranked players and won in the AEGON British Tour event at Frinton, England.

BYU tennis player Francis Sargeant prepares for a backhand serve at practice. (Photo courtesy BYU Athletics)

Francis Sargeant prepares for a backhand serve at practice. (Photo courtesy BYU Athletics)

“He’s quite amazing,” Nikki Rae, a sophomore from the U.K. and fellow teammate of Sargeant, said. “He’s got a nice serve, and he’s a left-handed player. You never really find them in tennis.”

Sargeant isn’t a one trick pony though. In addition to being a star tennis player, practicing every day at 6:45 a.m. for fitness training and then from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., he also manages to find time to volunteer at the MTC as an investigator and has excelled in his studies in math. Plus, received the Gold Award in mathematics for being nationally ranked in the top 3 percent in the U.K.

Sargeant has a unique perspective to the environment of BYU, as he is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I feel that if you keep an open mind about the Church, then there is no problem at all,” Sargeant said. “It’s all about your attitude that you have when you come here.”

How did he get so good? Sargeant credits his parents for introducing him to the sport and supporting him throughout his career along with his childhood coaches Andy Burgoyne and Alastair Filmer, who he says were fundamental to his development back when he was 14-years-old.

Similarly Sargeant credits BYU coaches Brad Pearce and Daniel Pollock for helping build up his confidence on the courts. Sargeant hopes to be able to help many of his new teammates conquer the intense learning curve he experienced once starting tennis at BYU. The majority of the men’s tennis team is fairly young this season; however, expectations for this upcoming season are high.

“I feel we need to do better than last year and beat Utah and win the West Coast Conference,” Rae said.

Heather Bowers

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