Newman sophomore Eduardo Santos learned to play tennis from his family growing up in Maringa, Brazil.
He patterned his game after his older brother, Thiago, who played for Wichita State from 2005 to 2009.
What’s not known is exactly where he got the determination that has made him indispensable to the Jets the last two seasons, including a spot in the NCAA Division II Tournament South Central Regional on Saturday in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Jets, the No. 4 seed, play No. 5 seed Cameron at 2 p.m.
“Every time, (Santos) gives you absolutely everything he has on the court,” Newman director of tennis Shella Augspurger said. “He will battle for every point … he goes until his body gives out on him.
“I don’t think I’ve every around a player that plays like he does. It’s impressive to watch.”
“It’s been a great year,” Santos said. “I’ve got a lot of great experience, and through a lot of practice I’ve been able to play at my best in matches.”
Santos has made a name for himself over the last two seasons – he was the Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year last season and was second-team All-Heartland in No. 1 singles and All-Heartland in No. 1 doubles this season with Freddy Sanchez.
Santos went 16-6 at No. 1 singles and 8-1 in doubles with Sanchez. Alejandro Gonzalez was an All-Heartland No. 2 singles pick for Newman and Evgeniy Kim was also second team All-Heartland at No. 3 singles.
The Jets went 17-10 this season, including 3-2 in Heartland play, and lost to St. Edwards 5-2 in the Heartland Conference Tournament finals.
“The intensity (Santos) plays with means he gives 100 percent on every shot, 100 percent on every point,” Newman assistant coach Kevin Klein said. “Not only that, but he’s respectful. He’s coachable … he always does what we ask of him and has a great work ethic.”
Santos said it was Thiago’s influence that guided him to Wichita — Thiago now works for a Genesis Health Club in Salina.
“My dad taught me to play, but my brother has had the biggest impact on me playing tennis, on how I play,” Eduardo said. “He’s like a coach, advisor … he does everything for me. The way I play, I think, just comes from my family and where I’m from. I want every point to be a battle and I want to go until my body can’t go anymore.”
Midwestern State is the top seed in the South Central Regional and gets a first-round bye. Heartland Conference champion St. Edward’s is the No. 3 seed and plays No. 2 seed Western New Mexico on Saturday.