Mike Rozenvasser ready to finish rookie season strong

First-year Mike Rozenvasser battles hard in a rally against Oberlin. Rozenvasser has started his career strong. (credit: CMU Athletics) First-year Mike Rozenvasser battles hard in a rally against Oberlin. Rozenvasser has started his career strong. (credit: CMU Athletics)

After placing fourth in the national Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Oracle Cup last fall as the first first-year from Carnegie Mellon to play in the tournament, Mike Rozenvasser is gearing up for the second half of his impressive rookie season.

From Haworth, N.J., Rozenvasser’s tennis career began at a young age, when his grandfather put a racket in his hand and taught him how to play. He also followed his brother’s footsteps and played soccer up until his first year of high school, when he had to choose between tennis and soccer.
“You don’t depend on your team – it’s an individual sport,” he said about why he chose tennis over soccer. “When you win, it’s the best feeling because you did it all by yourself, but when you lose, you did it all by yourself too. It’s all based on yourself and depends on how hard you want to work to succeed.”

Playing tennis at a collegiate level was never in question. “Giving it up in college would not even be plausible,” he said. Carnegie Mellon is the perfect fit for him. The coaches were very inviting during his visit to campus, and the players all said, “This place is awesome.” He could have played at a Division I school, but there, tennis is first and then academics. “Academics are more important [to me] than sports.”

In Rozenvasser’s first year at Carnegie Mellon it has been challenging to balance academics and tennis. “It’s a lot harder than high school,” he said, emphasizing the importance of time management. He is an Economics major, with both his parents and his brother in the finance field. While he isn’t positive on what career track he wants to pursue, he plans on working in the business industry.

But tennis is still what he’s concentrating on. He plans to “keep on playing for four years,” but hasn’t thought about continuing out of college.
Though he intends on playing in some tournaments over the summer for fun, he wants to focus on things other than tennis after he graduates. “I’ll keep on playing, but nothing too serious.”

Off the court, Rozenvasser likes to go to the gym. “I like being physically active. If you’re physically healthy, you can be healthy in other aspects of your life,” he said. However, his mental toughness comes first when he’s playing tennis. “Mental and physical, they go hand in hand,” he said. “The more I’m in physical shape, the more confident I am.” But when he’s on the court, he’s always in his head. “I’m always yelling ‘Come on! Come on!’ I can be down Love-40, and it keeps me motivated and pumped up. There’s always a way to win.”

Though he prefers playing singles, doubles has grown on him at his time at Carnegie Mellon. “I’ve started playing with Kenny Zheng, a senior, a big mentor. Winning together is super fun, and the energy goes up through the roof.”

Though his ultimate goal is to win an NCAA Championship with the team and individually, Rozenvasser is excited for the indoor season moving forward. Though the men’s tennis team didn’t start off the way they wanted, he feels they can come back, and that they have the talent and the strong work ethic to succeed.

The Tartans will continue their season this Saturday, Feb. 11, against Walsh University and St. Francis University.