Men’s tennis co-captain Jonas Maier faces his own trials and tribulations, but nothing stands in his way
Jonas Maier has encountered his fair share of obstacles, though with the help of his family, he has not only overcome them, but exceeded expectations.
Maier, a junior men’s tennis player and recent transfer from Utah State, has faced obstacles early and often — obstacles that stretch back to his childhood.
“I was born in Southern Germany, close to Munich,” Maier said. “And then, when I was 6, my family moved north to Hamburg. When I was younger, I had asthma, and the air conditions in Hamburg were way better, so we moved up there.”
Moving all the way across Germany, Maier was able to thrive and succeed in many pursuits, among which was soccer. But at the age of 12, he chose to stick with tennis.
“I was just better in tennis. [For] soccer, everybody in Germany plays, so it just made much more sense for me to stay in tennis and stop playing soccer,” Maier said.
As Maier took steps toward tennis, a familiar figure became his coach.
“My father was my coach. He was the reason I started playing tennis,” Maier said. “He played a little bit when he was my age, and he really didn’t get the support from his parents that he wished, so he gave me all of his attention in tennis. He worked really hard to make this possible for me. So traveling with him was good, and him coaching me was just amazing when I was a kid.”
With personal coaching throughout his childhood paying dividends, Maier arrived to the rigorous college scene adequately prepared.
“College is just so much more team-based. In Europe, it was all individual, so I was just traveling with my dad the whole time,” Maier said. “The college game is not about playing for yourself but playing for your coaches, your teammates and representing your university.”
Adjusting to college wasn’t exactly a breeze either; it took some time for Maier to adjust to the new culture and environment at Utah State.
“The coaches would tell me stuff, and I wasn’t that good at English, and I wouldn’t really know what they were saying,” Maier said. “I was confused sometimes ... especially when you have your dad coach you and you have that special relationship. Now you have a good coach relationship and good teammate relationships that makes everything work together.”
After spending two years at Utah State under current head coach Clancy Shields, Maier decided he wanted to challenge himself once again and transfer to a Pac-12 Conference school.
“Coming to Arizona has been the best decision I have made since deciding that I was going to play in college. Being here has been absolutely amazing. I’m blessed to be here, being with the team and coaching staff we have. Now we just have to get to work,” Maier said.
As Maier adjusts to his new school in the desert, he hasn’t had trouble stepping into his new role, leading and directing the youthful team in the early season.
“We have a really young team. We only have two seniors, me as a junior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. So [I’m] just helping the new guys get accustomed to college and helping them figure all of that out,” Maier said. “[I’m] making sure that they are focused every time they hit the court and [making] sure that we aren’t wasting any time there ... It’s going good so far.”
This Arizona team is going to face its own challenges this year, but its season will be defined by how its players respond to those obstacles. With Maier in the lineup, the Wildcats can be confident that their leader is battle-tested and ready for anything.