￼￼Dymtro Mamedov set to THRIVE
DESTINED FOR SUCCESS Mamedov’s drive has him headed for the professional route
Dymtro Mamedov has been playing tennis for just about his entire life, as his first steps on the court occurred when he was 5 months old in Kiev, Ukraine. Coming out of high school, Mamedov’s options were limited. He had to make the decision whether to get a job or try to become a professional athlete. His mother believed he should go to college to start a career and his father, a downhill skier for the Soviet Union, believed he should pursue becoming a professional athlete.
“The system that I grew up in is you don’t get the luxury of being undecided as a freshman or even as a sophomore for that matter,” Mamedov said. “You have to choose your profession before you enter college. So you’re already going to a known profession at the age of 17 and, frankly, that is pretty hard to choose.”
Coming to the United States became Mamedov’s best option, as the university system here combines athletics and academics. The fact that he had the desire to become a professional was appealing to Utah.
“[His desire to play professional tennis] was also one of the reasons we recruited him,” said assistant coach Roeland Brateanu. “We like those players that have the desire and the dream of playing after college.”
Mamedov’s ultimate goal is to play tennis professionally, a dream he has had since he was young. He said he doesn’t idolize any professional players because he set his goals high and doesn’t see the point in not doing so.
“If you don’t have any ambitions, why play the sport?” he said. “I don’t see anybody as looking up to them. Potentially they are all competition. The goal is the number-one spot in the world. Currently, that is [Novak] Djokovic. It was [Roger] Federer for the last 10 years. I don’t know who it is going to be tomorrow, [but I] sure as hell hope it is me.”
With the confidence that Mamedov has, it might seem like he is fearless. However, he has one major fear.
“Injuries. The thing that is going to limit me is my own body,” he said. “Mentally, I’m pretty sure I can break through any wall … Everybody has their own wall. The thing that I’m really afraid of is something happening to me on the court or off the court that will put an end to my dream.”
Although he is the No. 85 singles player in the nation, Mamedov doesn’t pay much attention to his ranking.
“The goal for me is the NCAAs, obviously singles and team competitions,” he said. “If I get in as number one or the last guy in, that really doesn’t matter to me anymore. What matters to me is the win at the end of the day.”
Since Utah joined the Pac-12, the tennis team’s competition has gotten much stiffer. The Pac-12 is one of the strongest tennis conferences in the nation. The conference boasts four teams in the Top 25 and two teams in the Top 5.
Mamedov and the rest of the team’s focus this week is on Air Force, but he said it is a great honor to be in the Pac-12.
“Being part of that great tennis world machine — whatever you want to call it — is challenging, but as an athlete you could not ask for anything more than that,” he said.
Teammate Devin Lane believes Mamedov has the talent to play professionally.
“I think he is good enough, if he keeps up working hard during the season and during the summer, I think he could make it,” Lane said.
Brateanu said so far under Mamedov’s leadership, the team has played well.
“He can pretty much determine what’s going to happen,” Brateanu said. “If he’s willing to lead, to work hard and show the other guys how it is done, I think we’re going to have a very successful season.”
Mamedov has been described as hardworking from both coaches and fellow players. He said his work ethic wasn’t something he had to think about.
“The choice is really simple,” he said. “If you don’t work hard, you end up in a ditch somewhere and people are going to be wiping their feet on you like a doormat.”
He also gives a lot of credit to both his father and his head coach F.D. Robbins. He said that both are tough individuals. Mamedov said Robbins is often misunderstood as being someone who is nearly impossible to work with. He describes his coach as wanting execution, perfection and by loving what he does.
Mamedov continued by talking about his teammates. He said the connections he has built go further than just teammates.
“This transcends beyond just tennis relationships because you don’t know where you are going to end up tomorrow,” he said. “You might go pro and achieve greatness or you might choose a different path and find a job, settle down and get a life. Either way you’re getting a great friend. As a friend, that is one of the best things you can possibly ask for in a person, is to know what is going to happen and who you can depend on.”
Coming from Ukraine, Mamedov promised himself he would move to a place that didn’t have any winters. Although he did break that promise, he said he cherishes his time as a Ute.
“Utah is a terrific place. I grew to love the city, grew to love the university, love the campus,” Mamedov said. “It’s definitely an experience that comes once in a lifetime, and I’m really happy that I got to spend my last four years here at the U.”