CHENGDU, China – Tabbed as the largest global multi-sports event for student-athletes, the 2023 FISU World University Games took place this past month in Chengdu, China where thousands of university-level student-athletes from hundreds of countries came together to compete in 17 different sports.
One of these sports includes tennis where several student-athletes who are currently in the United States collegiate system not only competed but excelled, taking home numerous medals during their time in China.
Beginning in the men’s singles draw, Harvard’s Henry von der Schulenburg became the first NCAA student-athlete to take home gold at the FISU World University Games since Jason Jung (Michigan) did so at the 2017 FISU Games in Taipei.
Representing his home country of Switzerland, the No. 34 ranked singles player in the ITA year-end singles rankings would dominate in the first four rounds of competition, winning in straight sets in each match en route to the finals.
Facing off against current ATP No. 687 Kasidit Samrej (Thailand) in the finals, Henry put together one of his most impressive performances of the tournament winning 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-1 to claim the gold medal for Switzerland.
In men’s doubles, Henry’s brother and current Virginia standout, Jeffery von der Schulenburg took home bronze alongside partner Jonas Shär to earn another medal for the Swiss team who ended up taking home silver in the men’s team competition.
With the medal, an NCAA student-athlete has now medaled at each of the last four FISU World University Games dating back to 2015 when former Memphis standout and later ATP world No. 1, Joe Salisbury, took home gold.
On the women’s side of play, two UCLA Bruins in Kimberly Hance and Elise Wagle took home bronze medals in the women’s doubles draw. The duo were the lone Americans to medal in the sport of tennis at this year’s games.
As part of the American tennis representatives from both UCLA and SMU, Hance and Wagle entered the draw as the eighth seed in the tournament and earned two wins, including one over the third-seeded pairing before falling to eventual gold medalists in the Semifinals.
In mixed doubles, Lisa Marie Rioux (Oklahoma State) earned a bronze medal alongside Tomoya Fujiwara for Japan. Rioux was the only NCAA student-athlete to medal in the mixed doubles draw and her country of Japan also won bronze in the women’s team competition at the 2023 FISU World University Games.
About the FISU World University Games
The FISU World University Games are staged every two years in a different city. This celebration of international university sports and culture draws many thousands of student-athletes together to compete, making it among the world’s largest and most prestigious multi-sport events. The twelve-day FISU World University Games competition programme includes fifteen compulsory sports. To stay at the forefront of sports development and innovation, organisers may also include up to three optional sports from the FISU Recognised Sports list and the FISU World University Championships programme into their event.
About the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body and coaches association of college tennis, both an advocate and an authority for the sport and its members. Comprised of 1,260 colleges and universities, 20,000 student-athletes, 1,700 varsity programs, 3,000 coaches, and 1,350 college tennis officials, the ITA empowers college tennis coaches at all levels to deliver vibrant tennis programs that are vital to their college communities and transformational to their student-athletes. Follow the 2023-24 college tennis season on the ITA website and ITA social channels on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.