Guilherme Gesser and Nico Agritelley never played together, but ever since head coach Hutton Jones paired the two for the spring season opener against Metropolitan State, the two have been like the strings in a tennis racket: inseparable.
“I was nervous,” Agritelley said. “I had just come here to ACU not knowing what to expect, but when G and I were paired together, we really clicked.”
Gesser, a three-year player and Agritelley, the lone freshman, came from opposite sides of the world. Gesser is from Florianópolis, Brazil and Agritelley is from Dallas. Gesser started playing when he was eight years old. His inspiration came from watching the No. 1 player in the world at the time, Gustavo Kuerten, a native of Gesser’s hometown.
Agritelley began playing when he was three years old after his dad bought a well-known tennis club, T-Bar- M. His father brought Nico to the tennis club every summer.
The two share something in common that no other doubles team at ACU share this season. They both played on red clay. Gesser grew up playing on the hot red clay of Brazil while Agritelley finished his senior year taking the rest of his classes online. He played on the clay courts in Asia, Europe and South America, winning multiple 18-under tournaments. He would play tennis during the day and go home and hit the books at night.
“It was difficult for sure, but it let me focus on my tennis,” Agritelley said.
The two spend their free afternoons hitting with each other at the Teague Special Events Center, learning the way each other plays. Gesser’s strength comes from his turns and his returns, while Agritelley attacks the net and is quick to react.
“We make a good team because my weakness is his strength and his weakness is my strength, so we do our best to compensate for each other’s play,” Gesser said.
Since the two paired up in late January, they moved from the No. 2 spot to No. 1 Wildcat doubles team with an overall 6-4 record. Agritelley is currently ranked No. 1 among doubles matches at 9-5.
“When I met the guys, they were all great, but when I started to hang out with G and watched how he played I always thought we could be a great doubles team,” Agritelley said. “I’m happy coach Jones had the same idea.”
Agritelley and Gesser were shocked when coach Jones put them on the court together because they played with different partners throughout the entire fall season. Gesser paired up with three-time All American Borja Cortes and Agritelley shared the court with sophomore Jason Proctor.
“I think we were both confused at first because coach had never paired us together, but when we did well against Metro and got on a hot streak at the beginning of this season we started to hang out more often,” Gesser said. “I had always played with Borja and to pair me up with a new freshman on the team threw me off a bit.”
Gesser and Agritelley are known to their teammates as the class clowns, but on the court the two become eager to win. Both spoke highly of their abilities on the court and said they depend on each other in more than tennis.
“We eat together, practice hitting outside of practice together, hang out on the weekends and just goof around,” Agritelley said. “He’s someone I can depend on””someone who I trust.”