24-year old freshman Ishay Hadash waiting his turn to get out onto the court this JanuaryPaul BangasserFreshman Ishay Hadash, a native-Isreali and former soldier for his home country, is in his first year of tennis at Minnesota.October 14, 2008Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintIshay Hadash is not a typical freshman on the Gophers menâÄôs tennis team. In fact, heâÄôs not a typical Minnesota player. He is a twenty-four year old who already has a wide range of international experiences on and off the court. HeâÄôs even served in the Israeli military. Hadash, however, just wants to help the Gophers win. It was only months ago that Hadash left Israel for Minnesota to further pursue his academic and tennis strengths at the University of Minnesota. In Israel, he had numerous impressive finishes and results. A member of the Israeli national team, he was also runner up in the Israel junior championships for three years in a row. Apparently he wanted more. âÄúHe was looking to play college tennis as many Europeans are. He wanted to continue to play tennis full time and play on a team at the same time as getting a degree and an education,âÄù coach Geoff Young said. Hadash showed his tennis strengths immediately by winning the Baseline and Golden Valley Opens over the summer. âÄúHeâÄôs a more accomplished player, more experienced, and has traveled all around the world already playing many tennis tournaments,âÄù Young said. Not many freshmen can say that. âÄúHe has a tremendous amount of experience internationally just playing professional tournaments,âÄù freshman Michael Sicora said. But the one thing Hadash simply cannot say, however, is that he currently plays. Because of his age, the NCAA has declared him ineligible until January. âÄúI know itâÄôs tough for him because heâÄôs been so used to competing all these years and now heâÄôs had to take some time off,âÄù Sicora said. âÄúAt first I was very disappointed and I didnâÄôt want to practice too much,âÄù Hadash said. Now, however, his ineligibility doesnâÄôt stop him from being at every practice like the rest of the team. His first goal: win his first match in January. âÄúHe definitely wants to play, definitely wants to contribute to the team, and you can see that when he practices,âÄù Sicora said. At practice, Hadash develops his already polished skills. âÄúHe has a lot of weapons in his game. He has a huge forehand, he serves very well, and has a very much all around gameâÄù Young said. âÄúI think my variety is my strength. I can do a bit from everything,âÄù Hadash said. Young refers to HadashâÄôs style of playing as an attack, where he is always the first one to strike. But donâÄôt let the fierce game and the military history fool you too much. âÄúOff the court heâÄôs a warm hearted guy who will do anything for his teammates,âÄù Young said. He loves the Gophers, basketball, and all of the relationships within the GophersâÄô closely knit team. The wait seems long for Hadash to step on the court, but the wait should be worth it. âÄúThis will be a new experience for him playing team tennis and I look for him to really blossom in that environment,âÄù Young said. Until then, Hadash will continue to give Minnesota everything he has to offer. âÄúHe will be one of the leaders on our team; he already is,âÄù Young said.