Great Scott! Sears brings tennis pedigree to Boise State

NIK BJURSTROM/THE ARBITER Sophomore Scott Sears zeros in on volley at practice. The sophomore from England is making strides with the Broncos as they begin their spring season.

World ranked No. 5 Andy Murray is a household name for tennis lovers.

The Scottish tennis player is trying to break the United Kingdom’s 75-year drought of a major tennis title. Murray may be a staple of professional tennis, but a staple in his friends and family box is girlfriend Kim Sears.

Sears has been a longtime support system for Murray and is Bronco sophomore Scott Sears’ older sister.

The Sears family had been involved in the professional world of tennis long before Kim began dating Murray. Her father, Nigel, is a former player and top British coach. Nigel is the former coach of Daniela Hantuchova at the WTA level and brought Scott and Kim to the U.S. Open almost six years ago when he coached Hantuchova there. It was in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. that Kim met Andy.

Since that meeting at the U.S. Open, Andy has become part of the Sears’ life.

“When I was 15, he used to stay with us at our house when he was home from tournaments and I use to hit with him a lot and he would help me improve,” Scott said of Murray.

“It has definitely helped me improve to hit with a player like that, watching and listening to him talk and arguing with him about certain aspects of the game. It obviously and definitely helps to be exposed to one of the best players in the game.”

Scott has made a name of his own on the courts in Boise, quickly becoming the vocal leader of the team while racking up victories. The No. 42 ranked Broncos are 2-2 on the season and fresh off a 4-0 upset against No. 30 Wisconsin.

“Playing doubles with Scott is unbelievable. We have so much fun together, we believe we can beat any team in the nation. We never get angry or irritated. I think it’s impossible to get irritated with Scotty; he’s so much fun and energetic and having that on the court is so important. He’s the one who shouts across the court,” junior Damian Hume said.

Scott is from London and spent most of his teenage years preparing to go pro.

“His (Scott’s) dad was one of my closest friends when I traveled the international circuit. I saw him at the Orange Bowl (international tennis tournament) several years ago and he was telling me his son was going to go pro and I said, ‘send him to me’ and he did,” head tennis coach Greg Patton said.

At 18 Scott was forced with the decision to go pro or to come to the states and play collegiate tennis. With a life changing choice about his tennis future weighing on his mind, Scott consulted his father and even asked the advice of Murray.

“I spoke to Andy and he said it was a great option of play unless you are really zoning when you are 18 like he (Andy) did,” Scott said. ”It’s just very tough financially and very hard for people to play for six or five years and college gives you four years to mature and play and then go out and try it if you want to.”

Scott claims Kim is ‘very good naturally’ and has more natural ability than he does on the court even though she’s only picked up a racket a few times.

“She started to (play) over Christmas. She went out and played a little bit of doubles with him (Murray),” Scott said. ”When I was younger and first started playing, she used to go out and hit with me every now and then, but she knows a lot about the game now.”

Having such famous tennis ties doesn’t give Scott any free passes with his teammates. They like to remind him of home as much as they can.

“Every single time we can we say things like ‘look at your brother-in-law’ and stuff like that. We give him a lot of crap about that,” Hume said.

Patton has a different story to the heckling.

“I don’t think they give him as hard of a time about his sister because they all want to meet her,” Patton said.

Scott takes the locker room fun in stride, even with the easy target Kim’s relationship gives his teammates.

“It does kind of destroy me that my sister is going out with a Scottish guy, and Clancy (assistant coach) always likes to play Braveheart clips to get at me,” Scott laughed.

Last Sunday in the Australian Open men’s final, Murray lost in straight sets to world ranked No. 3 Novak Djokavic. Scott was up in the early hours of the morning following a live score tracker online.

“I always keep an interest in it and check it,” Scott said. ”I’m not completely devoted to it, but I do keep an eye on it and check how he is doing.”

With the Bronco season in full gear, Scott will continue to be the voice for the Broncos on the court and use his tennis pedigree to aid Boise State in their quest for success.

About the author  ⁄ Brittney Johnson