The transition from high school to the college lifestyle was a challenge for many Marquette freshmen last August. Few had a tougher time adjusting than tennis player Thibault Troude.
Troude was born to parents Thierry and Mami in Tokyo, Japan and grew up in Divonne-les-Bains, France. He played tennis in high school at Lycee Ferney Cned and claimed a pair of regional titles as a youth player.
When coach Steve Rodecap recruited Troude, he said that he immediately noticed his great talent for the game and athletic ability.
Troude displayed that ability last September, winning two singles matches in the Milwaukee Tennis Classic over Northwestern and Wisconsin and teaming with sophomore Otavio Perim to reach a 6-4 doubles record over the fall season. His 3-9 overall singles record suggested a need for improvement, but Rodecap saw the season as a period of change.
Rodecap said the fall season is a transition for a lot of foreign players, and he told Troude to bring up his bottom days and not worry as much about his top days.
Off the court, Troude was still learning to adjust to everyday life on an American college campus, which presented its own unique problems, most prominently the language barrier.
“Everything’s in English, so I have to focus harder in class,” Troude said. “It was tough to speak English every day because in France, they don’t teach English very well.”
Sophomore Jose Carlos Gutierrez Crowley, who came to Marquette from Queretaro, Mexico last year has helped Troude by sharing his experiences as a foreign student.
“I had almost the same experience in my first year,” Crowley said. “I kind of know what things are different and what things he needs to change and improve in order to adapt to this culture. He’s doing really well managing his time and he’s always early.”
Now in the midst of the spring season, Troude is starting to come into his own on the court, posting an overall singles record of 12-13 and a 13-9 doubles record with Perim.
“He’s made a lot of progress and grown up a lot over a short period of time,” Rodecap said. “Going into the spring season I wouldn’t have labeled him a for-sure guy in the lineup, and he’s really established himself as a consistent guy for us.”
Troude credits his coach for much of his improvement, particularly with the intensity of his practices.
“My coach in France was a lot like coach Rodecap,” Troude said. “I have learned a lot here, and I had never physically practiced as hard as I have here.”
Troude has reached a comfort level outside of tennis as well thanks to the support of his peers and team.
“I’m feeling much better. Honestly, I was pretty lost during the first semester. My teammates and my coach really helped me manage my time and adapt to American life.”
Heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against DePaul, Troude has won five straight singles matches and said that he wants to fight for every point no matter who he faces.