No. 1 Singles Player Hails from Sweden


Photo courtesy of the Athletic Department

Viktor Johanssen, freshman, and the No. 1 singles player for the Panthers, winds up for a forehand shot.

Cody Gibson, Sports Editor

Tennis is a sport that is played interna- tionally, and it is very popular in certain parts of the world. Tennis can be a solo or team sport. In a singles match you play by yourself, while in doubles you have the support of a teammate.

This year, Ferrum has a new player from Sweden, Viktor Johanssen. He is currently the #1 singles player on the team, which can be stressful.

“There is a bit of pressure. I know things are expected of me, and I try to do

as much as I can for the team, especially knowing that winning the #1 singles in a team match contributes to a lot of momentum for the team and can be key in the deciding outcome,” he explained.

He plays doubles with his partner and roommate, Tom Doherty, freshman, who is from Ireland. Johanssen, himself, hails from Sweden.

“I originally lived in northern Sweden but moved to the capital of Stockholm when I was five. I live about 10 minutes from the ‘big city’ with my dad and siblings,” he said.

Johanssen went on to talk about Sweden.

“It’s very liberal and diverse. A lot of

different groups of people live in the capital, which makes it a very unique place, from the shops to the culture,” he said.

Being away from home can be hard sometimes, especially if home is overseas.

“I miss my friends and family but also simple stuff like having Swedish food and hanging out at the bar after a long day. We have different regulations to nightlife in Sweden, and I feel like I am more of a ‘minor’ here and that I can’t do that kind of stuff,” he explained.

Johanssen began playing tennis at age six, and it wasn’t always his favorite sport.

“My parents put me up to it when I was very young, I used to dislike it for a very long time until I realized how much it meant to me when I was older. I did not realize this until I was about 16 years old, and that is when I started taking tennis seriously,” he said.

However, tennis is not the same in Sweden as it is in America.

“A big difference between the US and Sweden is that we do not really have high school sports. I did, however, play for a tennis club close to my home in Sweden, where I played a few matches in the Men’s Swedish National League where I played #3 singles. The competition was also very tough back in my home country, where

I usually had to face off against ranked adults when I was only 18,” Johanssen recalled.

A lot of athletes have an idol who they look to for inspiration. For Johanssen, it’s Roger Federer because of his effortless style and mindset on and off the court.

Johanssen decided to come to Ferrum after talking to the coach through a sports recruitment program.

“I used a sports agency, and they used my recruiting video and sent it to a lot of universities and colleges. I had contact with a lot of coaches, but I ultimately decided to come here because I felt like I clicked with the coach,” he said.

He enjoys Ferrum because of the new experiences he gets to have.
“I like it here. It is very different from what I grew up with, which makes it a unique experience for me. I’d rather go and live in a completely different way than back home and return with new experiences and perspectives,” he said.

Obviously, when you go somewhere there are different social cultures that you may have to learn. So, for Johanssen, there have been a lot of challenges and new adjustments.

“A funny example for me is when people say ‘bless you’ instinctively when someone sneezes–we just don’t say any- thing back in Sweden,” said Johanssen.

The hardest challenge Johanssen has had to face is adjusting to life on a team and the different competition levels.

“The toughest thing for me has been to adapt and become more of a team player instead of just worrying about myself on the court. I was never a part of a team be- fore I came here, and I only played singles and rarely doubles. Furthermore, playing #1 singles, I often face really good players who have a lot more college tennis experience than I,” he says.

Off the court, Johanssen is studying business administration.

“I want to build more of an entrepreneurial career in the future. I have multiple ideas, such as creating a record label with my friends, starting my own company, or starting a tennis academy,” he said.