Men’s tennis phenom Nick Bybel ’16 continues to excel on pro circuit

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

After establishing himself as a University tennis icon, Nick Bybel ’16 has set out to do the same in the professional circuit. What started as playing backyard tennis has led to unprecedented, consistent improvement, as Bybel has climbed in the rankings each year since beginning to play at the university level.

Bybel decided to continue his tennis career in his home state of Pennsylvania after three years of school in South Carolina, a decision that would change the face of Bison men’s tennis. Four years of countless hours on the court earned him several program firsts, including four First Team All-Patriot League honors, two Patriot League Player of the Year awards, a national ranking of No. 95 in 2015, a program record for singles wins (112-29), and the prestigious Christy Mathewson Award as a senior, a feat he considers to be the biggest accomplishment of his college career.

“The only goal I had when coming to Bucknell was putting my team in the best position to bring home a Patriot League title. Unfortunately, that wasn’t able to happen, but the memories, lessons, and awards will always stick with me forever,” Bybel said.

The skill, work ethic, and passion Bybel developed during college has since led him to the international stage, where he is a rising talent in the pro circuit. The 2016-2017 season marked his professional debut, during which he achieved peak rankings of No. 1056 in doubles and No. 1238 in singles. These set a promising precedent for the years to come, and Bybel plans to continue refining his skills, as he did as a Bison.

Having graduated from the University, Bybel’s overall goal remains the same: to get his ranking as high as possible.

“I had a decent first year getting some [Association of Tennis Professionals] points for my singles and winning my first professional doubles with tournament while dealing with some injuries. I’m hoping my second year will be similar to college, as my results only continued to get better each year,” Bybel said.

A busy tournament schedule has led him to Canada, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Romania and Portugal. Managing this schedule has proven to be a principal challenge in his post-collegiate career.

“The biggest difference between college tennis and professional tennis is learning how to manage your entire tournament and practice schedules yourself. Just as college took some getting used to from learning how to pick your classes and what dorms to live in, you learn which airlines, countries, and tournaments you need to choose to give yourself the best opportunity for success,” Bybel said.

Bybel’s college career set the bar high, but if history repeats itself, the best is yet to come for this rising star.

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