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This Mercer men’s tennis player plans to win the Southern Conference

Fernando Guardia
Fernando Guardia

Fernando Guardia, a Mercer men’s tennis player, plans to win the Southern Conference (SoCon) with his team this year.

“Well, we have high expectations now that we made it to the finals last year in the conference,” Guardia said. “I think our main objective as a team is probably winning our conference.”

Fernando Guardia

Guardia, named to the SoCon All-Conference Second Team, also said he wants to classify in the NCAA tournament and win a few rounds.

“We have the abilities. We have the talent, so we have high expectations (this) year,” Guardia said.

Guardia, from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, said he started playing tennis when he was 10 years old. He said his mother and father played, but he believes his cousin introduced him to the sport.

“Since that day, I think I really liked tennis, and it’s been my passion for years,” Guardia said.

He said he found Mercer after Coach Eric Hayes contacted him. According to Mercer Athletics’ website, Guardia was ranked No. 308 in the World International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings, which Hayes said is pretty impressive.

Jenna Eason
"I want to help my country to develop," Fernando Guardia said. "I actually have a family business, so I'm planning to work with my family."


“He’s been a real good team player, one of our hardest workers, a real good student, so you know, just a well-rounded good young man,” Hayes said.

Hayes said a friend of his who coached in Bolivia told him about Guardia and reached out to him after seeing his ranking and skill.

Guardia said he talked back and forth with Hayes and was offered a scholarship, which helped him make the decision to move to Mercer.

After Mercer, Guardia, a international business and finance double major, said he plans to return to Bolivia to help with the family business of importing oil with the YPF company.

“I want to help my country to develop,” Guardia said. “I actually have a family business, so I’m planning to work with my family.”

Guardia said his favorite memory at Mercer was beating Furman in the semifinals of the SoCon last year.

“We were down 3-0, and they needed just one more point to win, but I think like the guys did an amazing job, and we turned it around. We came back from 3-0 down, and we actually ended up beating Furman 4-3, so that was a huge moment for us,” Guardia said. “I’m just very excited every time I remember that.”

He said after making it to the finals last year, he believes they can win the SoCon this year.

“I’m proud of each one of the guys on the team, so I’m just hoping to give our best, train hard and win the conference. That’s what we want,” Guardia said.

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