With fall tournaments concluding, junior men’s tennis player Jack Martin-Dyer is still working his way back to the game after suffering from an injury at the end of last season.
Martin-Dyer played first singles and doubles last year but suffered a severe lower back injury. He missed the final matches as well as the Saint Joseph’s Invitational.
However, Martin-Dyer felt well enough to play in the two most recent tournaments.
“Having this injury has definitely made me appreciate tennis more than I ever have,” Martin-Dyer said. “I have to do a lot with sports medicine every day to keep getting better, but it feels great to be back out there and just playing with the guys again.”
Despite his injuries, Martin-Dyer refused to spend all his time on the sidelines. He was able to continue his involvement in athletics as a member of the Emerging Leaders and Athlete Ally programs, as well as his involvement in his fraternity.
“It’s sometimes overwhelming to think about everything I do, but it’s all about managing my time wisely,” Martin-Dyer said. “At the end of the day, my teammates and (fraternity) brothers are family.”
Martin-Dyer’s success, both on and off the court, does not go unnoticed by his teammates or tennis coach Wouter Hendrix.
“I tell my players that in order to fulfill being a student-athlete, they have to be giving their all in the classroom and treat it like they’re on the court,” Hendrix said. “(Martin-Dyer) is a perfect example of that.”
Hendrix also admires Martin-Dyer for his commitment to recovery and getting back on the court. He said the team is grateful for his continued dedication — especially during a difficult, and at times, frustrating, rehabilitation process.
“I think him being out for so long has really helped shape him into a leader for this team,” said sophomore Harry Wang, one of Martin-Dyer’s teammates. “He’s really on top of himself and others, and I think him stepping up like this is going to take our team to the next level.”
While Wang is excited about the upcoming season, he said a key to the team’s success is Martin-Dyer’s full recovery. His appearance in the past two tournaments with doubles partner sophomore Jacob Edelchik was the first time he’s competed since last season.
Though he is still not at full strength, Hendrix said Martin-Dyer’s abilities as a doubles player have not been affected. Martin-Dyer secured his spot at first doubles this weekend at the ITA Regionals in Princeton.
Martin-Dyer is eager to continue rehabbing and plans to achieve the team’s goals for the spring.
“Step one is non-conference and beating Drexel and Villanova early on and then after that, it’s the Patriot League title,” Martin-Dyer said. “That’s what the whole team is expecting we can do, and this is the most talented team I’ve seen since I’ve been here, so we really want to make it happen.”
Hendrix is confident that the team has enough depth to make up for Martin-Dyer’s injuries.
“If you’re a team like us, your goal should always be to win the Patriot League Championships,” Hendrix said. “(Martin-Dyer) is going to be an important part of that, but I feel the strength of our team goes deep, and if something goes wrong, there’s always another player ready to step up.”