Written by Senior Sports Journalism Student Cassie Campise and Mass Communication Graduate Student Jenna Nabors, students working for Sun Devil Athletics in the public relations lab at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Murphy Cassone has been playing tennis since birth.
“Pretty much since I was in diapers. My parents just threw the racquet in my hand and then had me come onto the court,” Cassone said.
The Kansas high school No.
“I went through a lot of ups and downs with tennis in high school and Matt Hill and Dominique Cotrone stayed with me,” Cassone said. “It stuck with me the most and I felt the most value. And Matt also believed in me the most.”
Through hard work and dedication to the game, Cassone’s first season at ASU as a true freshman was full of accomplishments. Although he faced challenges, he overcame them with a growth mindset.
Cassone had limited tournament experience in college, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, at the end of his first year, he has played in several national tournaments and has been named a member of the United States Tennis Association’s 2022 summer team.
“He’s taken a huge leap forward in a year,” Hill said. “It’s really impressive to see and it’s exciting to see where he will be in another year.”
During his freshman season, Cassone spent the majority of his time on campus tennis courts. Hill said that often the coaching staff had to take him off the field to take a break.
“His desire to be good and his professionalism in his day-to-day work ethic is unmatched,” Hill said. “He’s got a different drive than your typical kid on the team, even at an elite Division I school he kind of has another level. He’s ready to be out there all day every day. days if necessary.
Year One Highlights
Cassone’s standout match that he is most proud of is when he defeated then No. 1 college tennis player Augustus Holmgren of the University of San Diego.
“Just having this win with my coach was really meaningful to me,” Cassone said.
The match was also a turning point for Cassone. He learned the importance of playing without stress and concentrating on the game in front of him.
Hill’s most memorable match of Cassone’s freshman year was beating Pepperdine’s No. 9 Daniel De Jonge in the country, despite suffering a leg cramp during the match.
“Somehow this young boy finds a way to win the game on basically one leg. And you’re just sitting there saying ‘okay, this guy’s a different race, you know ? ‘” Hill said. “It’s the little moments like that, that give you an idea of his drive, the pain he’s willing to face and all those little intangibles that only the best players I’ve worked with have.”
Cassone finished his first season on a nine-game winning streak and went 15-5 in singles and 10-9 in doubles. In early June 2022, it was announced that he had won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, ITA Southwest Rookie of the Year, and ITA National Rookie of the Year awards.
“It was just a really good feeling to know that all the hard work that’s been done has led to this,” Cassone said.
Guy has been unstoppable all year, so that’s no surprise. ?? pic.twitter.com/XlUXSlUzE0
— Sun Devil Mr. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) May 4, 2022
Murphy Cassone is the greatest rookie in all of college tennis??
?? Press release: https://t.co/JSdK7VnQwj pic.twitter.com/NW3N7atnkL
— Sun Devil Mr. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) June 13, 2022
Entering his second season, Cassone is ready to help lead the team to success.
“I think we’re going to be a very good and quite dangerous team next year,” Cassone said. “Our new guys coming in are really motivated and good guys overall.”
Cassone is especially anticipating the addition of a friend and a doubles partner Hanzlik Treasurywho will join the team in the spring of 2023. With their history of playing together in domestic tournaments over the summer, the two are poised to dominate on the court.
“This year I think we’re all going to be on the same page and doing what we think is best as a collective group,” Cassone said.
Hill is looking forward to seeing Cassone play a bigger role on the team on and off the tennis courts. He hopes to see Cassone have a voice in the locker room and push his team to success and get his teammates back when they are struggling.
Hill is also confident that Cassone will lead the team by example.
“He’s going to show you what it takes, how hard it is to get there, what the pace of work is like and what the level of commitment is like,” Hill said.
This off season? Murphy Cassone tearing up Little Rock this week?? pic.twitter.com/pp7bjxq2cr
— Sun Devil Mr. Tennis (@SunDevilMTennis) June 1, 2022