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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Nuno Borges: Growing far away from his home

Kelly Price | MSU Athletic Communications
Nuno Borges: Growing far away from his home

While most Mississippi State University students are separated from home by a journey of a couple hours, for MSU men’s tennis player Nuno Borges, the separation is the Atlantic ocean and a travel time of a couple days.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has Borges ranked as the fourth best men’s singles players in the country.

Borges, a sophomore from Maia, Porto, Portugal, is a biochemistry major and one of the top-ranked college tennis players in country. Broges has a 29-5 record in singles play this season. 

Borges is not the only Bulldog having a successful year in tennis. MSU as a team is ranked No. 18 and has a 17-7 record, something Borges is quick to point out. 

“It has been great for me and for the team to see how much we can achieve,” Borges said. “It is good because they push me so hard, and they make me like this.”

Men’s tennis head coach Matt Roberts describes Borges as a gritty player who works hard. He said  he expected the success Borges is having because of the qualities he sees in him.

“He has a strong will to succeed,” Roberts said. “He has passion for persevering and succeeding through adversity. He is hard on himself. He expects perfection, but he understands that if he fails it is part of the process, and that will make you better.”

Roberts said Borges is someone he has seen mature and grow on the court. He said Borges has learned to think his way through situations instead of trying to force them.

“He has grown a lot emotionally,” Roberts said. “He has matured a lot. He still has his moments where he hates losing so much that he wears it on his body language too much, but he is learning how to maturely work through that and think his way out of tough situations. When you try to force things, it puts a lot of pressure on yourself, but he really tries to use the power of his mind to think through things and have much more control.”

Borges  played tennis from a young age. He started playing  when he was six. Borges said as soon as school started for him, he started playing tennis.

It was a long journey for Borges to get to Starkville. Borges said the trip takes two days and is not easy, but one that is worth it. 

Just over 4,200 miles separate Starkville from Maia, Porto, Portugal, and Borges noted two major differences between Portugal and Starkville. For one, he said, everything is bigger and the people are kind.

“You can see from the cars, from the people, and the stuff here, everything is bigger,” Borges said. “People are really nice here. I lived in a city, and people are not as nice. I really like the southern environment.”

For most, moving from a big city of 130,000 to a small town can lead to culture shock, and this does not even include the culture shock of moving across an ocean. 

Borges said one of the harder things about moving so far is keeping in touch with his parents. 

He said he mostly talks to them over Skype, but doing that can be hard with Portugal being six hours ahead of Mississippi. He said his parents are able to stream his games and keep up with his success on the court, but they do not talk about tennis a lot.

“They don’t really talk about the specifics, they are proud of me and what I have done,” Borges said. “I mean, obviously, they want more and I want more, so they keep pushing me and supporting me.”

The current MSU roster has seven players from outside the U.S. However, Roberts said Borges and other MSU players adjust quickly to things at MSU.

“I mean they get here and after two weeks they’re just like any other student,” Roberts said. “They get the feel of campus. They get the feel of our culture here.”

Borges MSU men’s tennis will be back in action for postseason play starting Thursday, April 27 with the SEC championship.

The championship is held in Knoxville, Tennessee and MSU will play the University of Alabama and Vanderbilt University on Thursday.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Nuno Borges: Growing far away from his home