Athlete Spotlight: Liam Day


Photo by: Ainara Eizaguirre Irastorza

Sophomore economics major, Liam Day, looks to go far in the 2022 conference tournament.

Liam Day, a sophomore economics major, was the only player out of both the men’s and women’s tennis teams to win all of his singles matches during their opening tournament the weekend of Feb. 5 at the Eddie Floyd Tennis Center.  

Starting a sport from a young age is commonly considered an advantage rather than starting later in life. For Day, this was never an issue, as he has always held a love for the sport. Tennis has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. 

“I started playing tennis when I was six years old, but I also used to play other sports such as soccer, athletics and cricket,” Day said. “However, I didn’t take it seriously until I was 11 years old, so I stopped the other sports and fully decided to focus on tennis. I think what got me into tennis, though, was the coach  at my school during that time who was also the coach of my dad and mom while they were at school.”

During his first year at FMU, Day saw court time in the #3 singles and the #3 doubles positions. He moved up multiple positions, now playing at the #1 singles and doubles position on the men’s tennis team. With this advancement comes added responsibility, especially being the oldest member of the team. 

“I feel that with age comes experience, and I believe, with my experience, I’ll be able to keep the team grounded, keep them focused on the common goal we want to achieve and provide the energy and help when they need it,” Day said. “I will also make sure to help the team gain confidence among themselves but also in their  teammates.”  

A native of Edenvale, South Africa, Day began to experience a completely different climate when he first arrived in Florence, South Carolina. This presented just one of many challenges the tennis player had to face. 

“I would say the hardest transition for me is playing in the cold as the weather is pretty hot in South Africa,” Day said. “The ball also moves much slower here where it’s quite quick, so I had to adjust  to that as well.” 

Not only did Day need to adjust to the climate, but he also had to adjust to having teammates and opponents from all over the world. 

“I had to get used to the many different nationalities and personalities of the different players from around the world, even within my team,” Day said.  

It is common for athletes to have role models they watch for inspiration. Day comes from a supportive family who has also achieved a lot in their own lives. In turn, this has given Day many role models. 

“I would say that my role models are my family members,” Day said. “particularly my mom, Patricia, and dad, Shaun, as they have done many things in their life that takes hard work and determination, but also things that justify why they are my main role models. For example, they have both run the longest road running race, known as the Comrades marathon, numerous times. But then there’s my brothers, sisters, and even my grandparents, who also have qualities that are admirable. I  have even learned qualities from my stepparents, Chester and Jackie. Each family member has something that I can use positively in my life.”

Although Day had a successful weekend, it has not always been easy for him to play tennis in the states, especially with the new COVID restrictions. 

“I wasn’t able to go home over the break due to the Omicron restrictions, but I was lucky enough to be able to train at an academy in Florida with my teammate Paige, which helped me prepare very well for the season.” Day said.  

Having a rewarding weekend makes all sacrifices worth it for Day. He may not have gotten the complete ending he wanted, but overall, Day said he was pleased with his performance. 

“It was a pity I couldn’t finish my singles against Lander, but it just shows what I can do when I put my mind to it,” Day said. “But over the weekend, I think I was just very motivated to do well and set the tone for what I can this season for myself, but more so for my teammates. Hopefully, we can continue this momentum and achieve the goals we have set.”

Day has high hopes for his team this year, especially since they have entered a new conference, the Conference Carolinas. Day is excited to see his teammates excel this season, as he really believes in them.

“I am looking most forward to the results that this team can achieve,” Day said. “I believe in all of them and know we can achieve great things such as winning the conference. If we are able to play together and for each other, these achievements will come.”

Tennis fans can watch Day and the rest of the men’s and women’s teams in action at home at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the John Kassab tennis courts.