The American Dream: The story of UWF tennis star Serdar Bojadjiev
by Chris Skewes, Staff Writer
As the son of Bulgarian immigrants, Serdar Bojadjiev grew up in Sweden aspiring to play for a tennis championship in the United States. Fast forward years later and Bojadjiev has completed this lifelong dream.
Currently he is the No. 12 player in the country for single matches and the Player of the Week in the Gulf South Conference. Only in his junior year, Bojadjiev has already proven himself twice over when it comes to the game of tennis.
Bojadjiev comes from Lidkoping, Sweden, a small town next to Vernon Lake with a population of about 50,000 people. Coming from an athletic background, his father played soccer in college.
The first time Bojadjiev ever picked up a tennis racket was at the age of 12. At the time, his older sister was on the local tennis team and she would take him to her practices. There he would serve and hit volleys with her after practice. One day the coach of the local team took a noticing to Bojadjiev and told him that he has a future in tennis and that he should start to play seriously.
Shortly afterwards, Bojadjiev started to play competitively and in two months, he entered into his first tennis tournament and won. Years later he would attend Lidkopings Kommun, an exclusive sports academy that accepts the top tennis protégés in all of Sweden.
While at the academy, Bojadjiev played exceptionally and caught the attention of a few NCAA tennis programs. However, coach Collins and the Concordia College tennis team was the program that initially caught his eye.
“I wanted to go to Concordia first in New York,” Bojadjiev said. “I signed for them and then literally three weeks before the preseason coach Collins told me that the program was shut down. So, the coach in New York called Derrick (Racine), the coach here, and then everything went pretty quick. He called me, he sent me the paper work and I signed.”
At UWF, Bojadjiev played as a true freshman for the men’s tennis team for the 2016- 2017 season. Under coach Racine’s guidance, Bojadjiev went 21-1 for single matches, finished the season on a 13-match win streak and was named the GSC Freshman of the Year.
That season the men’s team won the Division II national championship game against Barry University in a 5-2 match.
“We played them before in February (that year) and then we played them again for the championship and we won,” Bojadjiev said. “I was a freshman and that’s exactly what you want to do: play in championships and win. To do that as a freshman was amazing.”
In his sophomore year he kept the momentum going and added to his stat sheet. Bojadjiev was named the 2018 GSC Player of the Year and an ITA All-American in single matches.
He also went 16-4 in single matches and 5-1 against nationally ranked opponents. Bojadjiev recorded an 18-8 record in doubles matches and a 14-5 record when paired with teammate Lucas Sanchez.
Being former roommates, Sanchez and Bojadjiev make a deadly pair in doubles matches and work well off of each other’s energy.
“Whenever Sed has good energy out on the court, he can spread out pretty well,” Sanchez said. “And when he doesn’t, we know he can bounce back and come back even better.”
Outside of tennis, Bojadjiev spends his time studying for classes, watching TV and listening to hip hop and jazz music.
His two favorite things about Florida are the beach and the weather. And the part he misses the most about Sweden is his family and the food. His childhood idol is tennis player Roger Federer; Bojadjiev describes him as the God of tennis and looks up to his style of play. After college, Bojadjiev said he would like to play tennis professionally or pursue a career in business.
Known as Sed by the team, Bojadjiev has all the respect and admiration from his teammates. Most of them being former or current roommates, the men’s tennis team prides themselves on being close-knit and acting as a family.
“We’re very close and close-knit as a team,” UWF tennis player Vitinho Galvao said. “We were roommates, so we all know each other pretty well, and we all have the same vision and that’s winning championships.”
Junior year for Bojadjiev is shaping up for him just like how his first two did. UWF has a current 11-4 record and is undefeated in conference play. Suffering from a couple tough losses against ranked opponents midway through the season, the team has bounced back and is now on a current three-game winning streak.
“We’re going to win conference; that’s what we’re going for,” Bojadjiev said. “We’re trying to win championships.”