Jan. 19, 2012
By Megan Morgan
SEATTLE - It's amazing the power of belief and encouragement. One person sees potential in you, beyond what you may see in yourself, and suddenly you are conquering the world--or in the case of Nicholas Kamisar, the court.
A redshirt freshman for the Huskies, Kamisar certainly didn't fly under the radar in high school--the Sammamish native was the No. 2 ranked player in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) section and the No. 1-ranked player in Washington by the USTA for his age group as a senior. There was no question--Nick knew how to play tennis, and he knew it well. But he was never quite at the top.
Nationally, the highest Kamisar reached was No. 65 according to tennisrecruiting.net, certainly impressive, but players at that level don't typically come right in and start for a Pac-12 squad. With the redshirt season under his belt, Kamisar jumped in at No. 4 singles for UW in its season-opening win over Seattle U., and he figures to be a mainstay this season.
Maybe Kamisar knew he had it in him, but until he met Coach Anger and joined the University of Washington tennis team, the height of his potential had yet to be realized. Heading into the year, Anger said "I think (Nick) is a very good story for someone who was ranked lower in the juniors, but is going to have a very good college career."
Improvement is not always the steady upward climb that athletes would like it to be. Sometimes there are small diversions in the path to success--and sometimes there are major ones. But Nick knows this well all too well. Troubled with injuries right before his junior year, Nick opted to focus solely on regional and national junior tournaments, versus trying to handle high school tennis as well. Trying to juggle both seasons of competition was landing him with repetitive injuries. Nick noted, "I figured it would also give me a better chance at being able to play for a good college team."
During his sophomore year, Kamisar was unofficially told by UW's head tennis coach that he had a spot on the team, should he decide to come here. Despite being recruited by Cal and Wisconsin, Nick says, "I had heard a lot of good things about UW's program and especially their coaching. It seemed like a combination of a lot of great things."
Since choosing to attend UW, Kamisar says that tough competition, talented teammates and great coaching have slowly propelled him to what he believed to be his potential, and even beyond.
Last year, the coaches and Kamisar decided to redshirt his freshman season in order to preserve eligibility. His coaches believed that he'd be a much more valuable player in his second and later in his fifth year. Kamisar took the opportunity to work on his game and physically make himself an asset for the team. "I had to develop a lot more shots, a lot more power, and get a lot fitter," said Kamisar. "It was great to have a new fitness program because I had never really done anything outside of playing tennis before."
Since upping his game, and his mentality, Kamisar has new goals on the horizon--to have the best possible dual record and to help his team advance to NCAAs and hopefully win at least a few rounds. Added to his list, Nick says he wants, "To try to do my best on and off the court."
With his coach's belief and expectation on his shoulders, Nick Kamisar has taken this as a challenge to raise his expectations of himself as well. Always a believer in work ethic and self-earned success, Kamisar has learned that he might be able to rest some of his self-belief in the fact that he has a pretty high level of talent as well. Asked if he believed he had as much untapped potential as his coach's saw in him, Nick nodded his head "no", but a knowing smile crept onto his face. "I definitely didn't know I could be as good as I am at this point. But I always try to work as hard as I can and hope it pays off. I guess talent-wise I didn't know, but with my work ethic, I knew I still had a lot I could accomplish."