Following dreams helped men’s tennis team’s Charbonneau


Sean Hastings

Logan Charbonneau, a freshman men’s tennis player, stayed on the tennis courts till 2 a.m. following a 3 p.m. tennis practice to ready himself for a chance at playing at the college level. His 2 a.m. “partner” was a machine that fired thousands of balls at him until he decided it was time for bed only to wake up and do it the next day.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter


Starting practice after school at 3 p.m. and practicing on his own until 2 a.m. is how freshman Logan Charbonneau became a Division-I tennis athlete at Eastern.

He said he would go through 1,000 to 2,000 balls a day from a ball machine, and turn up the speed to see how fast he could get it. And for Charbonneau, that made all the difference.

“A lot of nights I can remember it was just pitch black, 2 a.m. had the lights on to myself, get home, get a little bit of sleep, go back and do it the next day,” Charbonneau said.

Charbonneau said starting at 14, he never played for a good tennis team. The players never took matches seriously, and there was no competition.

He said ever since then, he has had a “tennis bug” and wanted to play 24/7.

When he met his high school coach, he took Charbonneau to various tournaments around North America, such as South Carolina, Las Vegas, Seattle and Vancouver.

Charbonneau competed against higher level competition, and he wanted to learn from better players to improve his game any way he could.

One challenge he faced throughout high school was balancing his time between tennis and being the captain on the high school baseball team.

In tennis, Universal Tennis Ratings is a tracker on how tennis athletes rank. Charbonneau knew that not playing tennis a full calendar year would hurt his chances of finding a school to play tennis.

And during that time when baseball season was going on, that was when big tournaments were happening for tennis and Charbonneau could not compete in them, which worried him that coaches would not look at him because of a low rank.

That eventually changed.

Sam Kercheval, the interim tennis director at Eastern, and Charbonneau knew each other from Charbonneau competing in a tournament in Indiana against IUPUI, where Kercheval was the tournament director. He said that helped him make his choice.

“I came here because of Sam,” he said. “Your coach at a D-I level is like your second dad. When I asked everyone in Indiana that I knew what was bad about Sam Kercheval, I just couldn’t find anything. He’s an A-1 guy, he’s honest, he won’t cheat you and he’s a really good guy.”

Charbonneau said making the transition to Eastern was easy because he was on the same wavelength as his coach and the two were close.

When Kercheval first met Charbonneau, he liked what he saw right away, he said.

Kercheval said Charbonneau was a player who loved the game and after watching him play extra matches after he was eliminated in a tournament, he said he knew Charbonneau was a player to watch.

“This happened four times and that told me to watch this kid, because that’s what you want from a player who loves the game,” Kercheval said.

One of the biggest things Charbonneau encountered when coming to Eastern is his teammate and roommate Kaisei Kuroki.

Kuroki is from Tokyo, Japan and has been training for seven years in France with the Mouratoglou Academy, the actual coach of Serena Williams.

“He’s been training in France for seven years, and that’s tennis heaven for me,” Charbonneau said. “I have a guy that can beat me all the time now, which I didn’t have in high school, it’s a dream come true for me.”

And for Charbonneau, this helps motivate him to have intensity on the court and he said he knows he can succeed.

“His high school’s mascot is a bulldog, and that’s truly what he is, he loves the game and keeps going after it,” Kercheval said. “Having that Indiana connection briefly before that really helped Logan.”

Something he never had in high school was a support system by his side and teammates lifting him up when he has a bad match, Charbonneau said. Now being here at Eastern, Charbonneau said he has that support system from all his teammates.

He said he knows he always can ask for advice from the guys, and Charbonneau said he could not be happier to have this by his side.

“You can see the fire in my teammates’ eyes and that helps me a lot, because back at home I was known as the most-fiery guy and having the biggest heart, and now having this at the college level, it helps so much more,” Charbonneau said.

While Charbonneau is struggling to find wins this spring, Kercheval said the competition is much different.

“The level is so different, so it’s going to be important not only does he have it, but keeps it,” Kercheval said. “He’s pretty angry when he loses but the way he channels it and gets back on the court, if he keeps that throughout college and beyond, he’ll be in good shape.”

Something that will stand out for Charbonneau in his growing process is having teammates with different styles.

“He’s becoming a little more well-rounded because he can’t just have a forehand and be super competitive,” Kercheval said. “A big stride has been volleys at the net, but this offseason a big thing will be to work on his footwork and speed, and he now has the knowledge to know what it takes.”

Kercheval said he always reminds his team to be on time and communicate, but he said after every match, Charbonneau is always reminded of something.

“Logan is known for leaving something at practice or in the van, I mean every single time, you ask him ‘is this your water bottle’ and (Charbonneau) responds ‘yep,’” Kercheval said.

But, for Charbonneau, he describes sophomore Freddie O’Brien’s game as all about intensity, and redshirt sophomore Marko Stefan Janjusic is so mentally tough, that he uses this as a learning experience.

“Me being in the middle of these guys, if I need help with anything that O’Brien and Janjusic do, I have every resource possible on this team, and that’s one of the best things I could’ve ever wished for here at Eastern,” Charbonneau said.

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]