When Phil Anderson moved 5,000 kilometres away to Albuquerque, N.M., last August, the Halifax tennis star quickly learned he could leave his umbrella at home.
“It rained like five times all year down there,” laughed Anderson, who recently returned from his freshman season of NCAA men’s tennis at the University of New Mexico. “It’s rained way more than that since I got back here.”
Jarring weather adjustment aside, the 19-year-old had plenty of success in the sun. He posted a 21-18 singles record in the fall and spring seasons, and held down the Lobos’ fifth spot as they claimed the Mountain West Conference title.
Although Anderson is a former national 16-and-under outdoor singles champion and a three-time national 16-and-under doubles titleholder, the NCAA was a big test.
“Every single match, you have to be ready to play your absolute best tennis,” he said. “You have to be ready for a battle. There’s no easy match. I feel like I improved a lot.”
Anderson said the Lobos will be rebuilding next season and he hopes to move into a top-four position.
He will spend the summer here, relaxing, coaching tennis and competing in local tournaments. He already won the Courtyard Open earlier this month and highlights the field at this weekend’s St. George’s Open in Dartmouth.
He’s eager to play in the St. George’s, an event he won in 2005. Bridgewater’s Adam Becker — another former NCAA standout and a long-time rival of Anderson’s — will also participate. The two could be on a collision course.
If the rain holds off, that is.
“It’s looking to be a real high-class tournament for around here,” Anderson said. “One of the best in years.”