Tennis, teaching and touring Austin: Meet junior student-athlete Luis Diaz


George Murray

Junior tennis player Luis Diaz prepares to play a forehand during a team practice. Over his career on the hilltop, Diaz has accumulated a singles record of 29-13.

The life of a student-athlete is a busy one. The life of an international student-athlete who plays and teaches tennis, while working towards a bachelor’s degree in business administration and kinesiology, is even busier. Welcome to the life of Luis Diaz, a junior here at St. Edward’s.

For Diaz, home is the beautiful suburbs of Madrid, Spain, a city fairly similar in its own way to the politically aware, liberal city Diaz now resides in.

“I’ve been there my whole life, and there is good food, good friends, good weather,” Diaz says.

However, he notes that there are some telling differences between the Spanish and Texan capitals. The main difference, in Diaz’s eyes, is the social lives of those at home in Spain as opposed to the American culture he has experienced.

Diaz made the decision to come to America for the same reason that many international athletes do — to continue playing tennis at the collegiate level while maintaining academic studies.

“Back home, studying and playing tennis at a high level is very hard. It can be very hard to find the time to do both,” Diaz says.

By attending college in America, Diaz knew he could continue pursuing both his academic and athletic talents. He decided that St. Edward’s was his best option, because he had visited Austin in the past.

The junior is fervently optimistic about the second half of his tennis career at St. Edward’s, both for the team and himself. His selflessness and value as a member of the team and athletics program as a whole are both apparent, as he immediately remarks on his teammates.

“This year … I think it’s looking better than ever,” Diaz says. “We have six freshmen who have all done pretty well so far. We [older players] know what to expect in the spring and we’re trying to teach these guys, but they definitely have the level.”

As for teaching, Diaz shares that he regularly teaches tennis lessons in the area. When he occasionally does get time to himself, he remains firmly in his comfort zone outdoors.

“I like to go for a run, a walk or go see Austin,” Diaz says, as he visits South Congress every now and then. “Anything outdoors when I can be with myself, relax and have time to think about other stuff is ideal.”

As the spring season approaches, Diaz aims to replicate his form on the court from his freshman year and bounce back from more recent setbacks.

“I think I put way too much pressure on myself [last season] trying to beat the previous year,” Diaz says. “Then I also had this injury right in the middle of the season which didn’t let me finish the season in the way I wanted.”

Diaz’s desire to balance sport with academics is even apparent in his degree choices.

“I don’t really have a well-defined goal for after I’ve got my degree,” Diaz says. “I just know that I want to do something related to sport.”

He is unsure of where life will take him post-graduation, but first comes two more years of hard work (and success, he hopes) both on and off the court.