This tennis season, history has quietly been made by a tandem of men’s players. This month, pair Diego Nava and Nick Borchenko became the highest ranked men’s tennis pair in the history of the program. Placed 32nd in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), this rank represents the highest by any men’s tennis duo ever. This achievement came off the back of an impressive streak of wins by the pair.
Nava attributed much of him and his partner’s success to their chemistry in playing aggressive tennis.
“I think our games really compliment each other,” Nava said. “We’re both big, aggressive players. So when we go out there, we pretty much overpower the other team most of the time. Nick’s a big guy—he has one of the fastest serves on the team. When he’s serving and I’m up at the net, we just try [to] finish up points quick.”
Nava and Borchenko made their first appearance together in a set against Fresno State this season, winning by a score of 6 to 2. In the Lions' follow up match against TCU, the tandem were the only LMU double to defeat their Horned Frog counterparts. This would set the tone for the rest of the season, as the star pairing would go on to be standouts for the tennis program.
The double’s reputation was solidified with back-to-back set wins against New Mexico State and Oregon. After their fifth straight victory against Brown University, Nava and Borchenko began to warrant recognition in the ITA’s national doubles poll. Earning an initial spot of 41st in the country, the pair made history. However, Nava and Borchenko would not remain stagnant in these rankings. Following additional victories against Pepperdine, University of the Pacific and Saint Mary’s, the double climbed all the way to up to the 32nd spot nationally.
Although this represents an impressive achievement for both players as a duo and as individuals, Borchenko stressed the importance of not getting caught up with rankings.
“The number ended up happening,” he said. “I wasn’t really paying attention to wins or losses. It honestly just creeped up and popped out of nowhere.”
Instead, he focused on the importance of only worrying about the task at hand and not the noise around him and Nava.
“I think it's about going out and playing,” he continued. “Don’t pay attention to all this other stuff going around. Just hit the tennis ball and same thing as I always say: whatever happens, happens.”
Unfortunately, the pair suffered a setback this past weekend, losing to doubles from both Gonzaga and the University of Portland. These defeats contributed to the tennis team’s losses to both schools, setting the program’s record to 3-2 in WCC conference play this season.
Following the losses, Nava wants to remain focused on continuing to compete at a high level this season.
“It’s not worrying about the loss,” he said. “It’s trusting the process. We’ve got to go out there and really believe in ourselves. And with the support of our coaches and teammates, we can just go out there and compete. That’s all we can do, pretty much — just compete.”