U.K. student raises BYU sports standard in tennis

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The U.K. prides itself in setting the trends for good music and good clothing, and now it’s setting the trend for good tennis at BYU.

Head coach Brad Pearce expects his team captains to be an example on and off the court, and Francis Sargeant, a junior from Beckenham, England, is getting it done.

According to Pearce, the team captain leads the team by getting good grades and helping the freshmen adjust to playing collegiate tennis. Pearce complimented Sargeant in the first two matches of the season.

BYU's Francis Sargeant jumps for an overhead shot in Saturday's match against Saint Mary's College.
BYU’s Francis Sargeant jumps for an overhead shot in Saturday’s match against Saint Mary’s College.

“I think he has left his mark on the team in his captaincy,” he said. “Not only what he did in his performance, but also behind the scenes.”

Within his age group, Sargeant was ranked No. 1 in the U.K. in singles in 2010 and 2011. After considering his options of schools, Sargeant chose BYU for its academic and tennis rankings but was anxious when it came to religion.

“I didn’t know much about Mormons. I hadn’t met one before, so I was slightly nervous,” Sargeant said.

However, Sargeant felt welcomed to campus by his peers, who took a liking to the British accent.

When recruiting, Pearce looks for players who excel both in terms of talent as well as in their personal lives.

“If they weren’t living by high standards, they wouldn’t feel comfortable here. They know what’s expected of them, and they’ve chosen to be here,” Pearce said.

A star on the court, Sargeant excels academically. Before attending BYU, Sargeant received an award in the UK for his proficiency in mathematics. As a Cougar, Sargeant is majoring in sociology and has earned a minor in mathematics.

Sargeant said he loves being at BYU and feels he fits in well.

“I love BYU,” he said. “I guess you could say I’m practically Mormon.”

While Sargeant dreams of playing professionally, he tentatively plans to get a job in tennis or some other sport after graduating. He also said law or real estate interest him as potential careers.

Tennis looks like a good bet for the U.K. native. In his career at BYU, he’s compiled a 64-29 record in singles matches. Last year he was an honorable mention for All-WCC in singles and was named to the All-WCC doubles team.

Pearce said the following two seasons will indicate whether Sargeant will see success playing professionally on the tennis circuit.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting stronger, maturity and understanding tactical situations, but I think he is showing potential to play at the next level and make a good living,” Pearce said.

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