New Kid on the Bluff: Rich Robbie
Rich Robbie is 21-7 in singles play this season, 17-6 at third singles. He earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week the last week of February. Photo Courtesy Athletic Departtment
With four underclassmen rounding out the top six players on the men's tennis team, Rich Robbie prefers the pressure of being the top young player.
"I like to compete, and I like that your fate is in your own hands," Robbie said. "It's not 'your team didn't play well'. If you lose, there's no excuse for losing, and if you win, it's so much better."
But that hasn't kept him from relying on and enjoying his teammates' camaraderie. While tennis is an individual sport, the team at Duquesne is close, and it shows. Robbie said the team atmosphere is what drew him to Duquesne over other schools.
"When I was here on a recruiting trip, I really saw how close the team was. And I really liked my host from the team, and I thought I would fit in really well with those group of guys," Robbie said.
Robbie is on the team's second doubles pairing and is the third singles player on a team loaded with underclassmen. He came to Duquesne with a 4-star rating from tennisrecruiting.net and was ranked third in the state of Massachusetts.
He's made good on his high ranking, even as a freshman. Robbie was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week the last week of February and has shown dominance on the court the entire season, so much so that teammate Aram Abgaryan said Robbie should have gotten Rookie of the Week more than once.
"It's surprising to me that he didn't get it more," Abgaryan said. "But he got it, and that was really cool."
Head coach Rob Castille agreed.
"The [A10 Rookie of the Week] was well deserved. There were definitely some weeks when he could have gotten it as well," Castille said. "He's having a tremendous year for us. He's playing high up in the lineup, and it's a lot to ask a freshman to play that high up, but he's handled it well."
Castille attributes Robbie's success to his determination on and off the court.
"His work ethic is one of the best on the team," Castille said. "In the gym and physically on the court, there's not a practice that goes by where he's not ready to work his butt off. That's contagious. I notice whoever he's hitting with, the people around him, it kind of rubs off on them. For a freshman to be bringing that leadership quality is pretty impressive."
Robbie said one of the most important elements he learned so far at Duquesne is that he needs to stay healthy, something the entire team focuses on in order to give their best athletic performances.
"[I learned] that being healthy and preparation off the court is just as important as reparation on the court," he said.
Robbie finished 3-0 in singles this past week and 2-1 in doubles with partners Max Rubin and Ben Klass. He is now preparing for the A-10 Championship this weekend in Ohio with a Duke squad who only has one loss in conference play so far this season. In singles, Robbie has yet to lose to an A-10 opponent.
Robbie will try to continue his 5-0 streak against conference opponents this coming weekend and help the Duquesne men's tennis team contend at A-10s.
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