David Jumes is a billboard for Nike. He just does it.
The Lawrence University freshman tennis player leads his team into this weekend’s Midwest Conference Championships in Madison with a shot to take the title at No. 2 singles.
“It is extremely tough to come in and play as high in the lineup as he has and do as well as he has,” Lawrence coach Steve Francour said. “You would not like that to take place, but he didnâ€™t bat an eye. Good tennis players just play. They donâ€™t worry about who theyâ€™re playing or what theyâ€™re playing. They just do it.”
An Appleton native, Jumes was a standout at Xavier High School and has put together a 12-5 singles mark, the best record on the team.
“This year, coming in new and fresh, it was just really nice,” Jumes said. “I can play and don’t have any pressure.”
Jumes isn’t a power player, but his ability to take an opponent’s power and turn it against him has been a key to his success as a freshman.
“I would consider myself more a counter-puncher,” Jumes said. “My main thing is refocusing the power that they give me. It’s one of my strongest skills. I have a different tactic for every match. It changes with who I’m playing and what they’re doing.”
Francour noted that Jumes has versatility and skill, but his mental game made him stand out quickly.
“David is an excellent all-around player,” Francour said. “He can outlast you from the baseline. He can attack when necessary. He is an excellent middle-of-the-match adjuster. He can figure out pretty much on his own what to do and not miss a beat.Â Thatâ€™s something you really canâ€™t teach.”
Jumes put together a 4-0 singles mark against MWC North Division opponents and was 2-1 in three matches against the South Division. Jumes is hoping that bodes well when he plays in the league championships on Saturday and Sunday, but he isn’t going in with a case of overconfidence.
“I definitely think playing a lot of these matches and getting the wins has boosted my confidence,” Jumes said. “AÂ lot of the matches have been pretty close so I feel like they could have gone either way.Â I have to stick to my game and play every match with full intensity.”
While being in the mix for a conference title may be a bit unexpected for Jumes, just being at Lawrence is equally surprising. Â His choice to attend Lawrence was an 11th-hour decision.
“I’m not really sure how I ended up here but I’m glad I came,” Jumes said.
Count Francour in the glad-he-came group as well. After losing the top three players to graduation last year, Francour knew there would be holes to fill in his first season as head coach.
“He was someone who made a real late decision to come to Lawrence. I donâ€™t think anybody really knew he was coming. He wasnâ€™t one of those kids who had visited and met the team,” Francour said. “I know everyone was on the team was surprised that he was coming and how good he was. I canâ€™t take any credit for getting David here, but thank God it happened.”