March 21, 2002
What do the United States' Pete Sampras, Sweden's Thomas Johansson, Russia's Marat Saftin, and Brown's Nick Malone have in common? They will all represent their respective countries in this year's Davis Cup Tennis competition.
Malone, the number one player on the Brown men's tennis team, has been named to Ireland's Davis Cup Team, and will begin competition with the Irish team in Armenia in May, 2002.
Throughout the history of the Davis Cup, which started one summer day in August at Boston's Longwood Cricket Club in 1900, almost all the greats of the sport enthusiastically participated in the international team competition that pits nations against other nations in a battle for supremacy. In 1999, when the multi-tiered silver trophy observed its 100th Anniversary, there were 129 nations that answer the call to Davis Cup action.
"I'm thrilled to be invited to play in one of the world's most prestigious events," said Malone, who captured the Harvard Invitational Championship in the fall. "It's a great honor to play for your country. Brown helped lay the foundation for my success with one of the top schedules in the nation, allowing me to play against the best players in the nation. It shows that all the hard work and effort was worthwhile."
A native of Greystones, Ireland, Malone first caught the attention of the Irish tennis world last summer when he returned to Ireland and captured both the Eastern Championship of Ireland and the National Irish Indoor Championship. As a junior player, Malone claimed four national championships in Ireland, two in the 18 and under and one in the 12 and under and one 14 and under. He also had two national doubles titles, one 12 and under and one 18 and under. Nick was the top ranked 18 and under junior in Ireland in 1998.
Irish captain Peter Wright, the head coach at Cal-Berkeley, got his first look at Malone at the 2002 USTA/ITA National Men's Indoor Championships, in Louisville, Kentucky, which featured the top 16 teams in NCAA Division I. Coach Jon Choboy's Bears earned a berth at the National Indoor Championship with its first ever win at the ECAC Championship in the fall. Wright had the opportunity to see Malone in action as Brown faced number-one ranked Georgia, fourth-ranked Pepperdine, and his own 11th-ranked Cal Berkeley.
At Brown, Malone came into the spring season at Brown with a 58-31 singles and 60-33 doubles record. He has been ranked as high as 5th in the region in singles, and 2nd in doubles. "Nick's greatest asset is his intellect on the court," said Brown men's tennis coach Jon Choboy. "He knows the game and how to play it. Nick never beats himself."
Malone earned First Team All-Ivy honors in singles his junior year, and All-Ivy Second Team kudos in singles his sophomore year. In doubles, he was a Second Team All-Ivy selection as a freshman, and a First Team All-Ivy choice his sophomore and junior years. He also has qualified for the 2001 NCAA tournament in doubles with partner Jamie Cerretani. An outstanding student, Malone has also been an Academic All-Ivy selection his first three years at Brown, concentrating in Economics.
"Nick has developed tremendously in the last three years, both physically, and in learning how to utilize his three major weapons - serve, forehand and backhand," states Choboy. "His ability to travel around the world and still be a member of the Brown tennis team speaks volumes of his ability. Only a handful of collegiate players around the world will be playing for their respective countries' Davis Cup teams."
The month of May will be one to remember for Malone. Following the thrill of his first Davis Cup appearance in early May, Malone will return to the United States to compete for Brown in the NCAA Regionals, May 11-12. Then it's on to the NCAA Championship, May 18-27, at Texas A&M University. He'll complete his whirlwind month by returning to Providence for his Memorial Day graduation from Brown.