first_imgLachezar Kasarov handed over his camera and went to pose with his teammates; he wanted to capture the memory of his last home match as a Badger.Kasarov, a senior captain of the UW men’s tennis team, played in his last regular season match Saturday, which was also his last home match. He didn’t disappoint, winning 6-1, 6-3 in his singles match and 8-1 in doubles.Four years ago, Kasarov, like most other freshmen, arrived on campus excited to start a new chapter in his life. However, unlike most freshmen, Kasarov had to make quite a trek to get here. The tennis star hails from Burgas, Bulgaria.Surprisingly, Kasarov is not the first native of Bulgaria to come play for UW, nor is he the first member of the Kasarov family to do so. His older brother, Alex, was a member of the tennis team from 2001 to 2004, and it was on a visit to see his brother that inspired Lachezar to follow in Alex’s footsteps by coming to play for the Badgers.”[Alex] was one of the main reasons I came here,” Kasarov said. “I came to visit him, and I fell in love with the campus and this town, and everything has just been great since then.”Though coming all the way to Wisconsin didn’t give him too much trouble, establishing himself as a talented player took some time. Despite winning his first match as a Badger against Northern Illinois, Kasarov finished with just four wins in 12 Big Ten singles matches.Over time, though, Kasarov’s skills developed, and his record benefited from the improvement. He went 21-14 as a junior, his first season as a captain. This season, as a returning captain of the team, “Wooch,” as his teammates call him, played very well in the No. 4 singles spot. His efforts have helped the Badgers achieve a national ranking at No. 38.Now, as his time in Wisconsin draws to a close, the change in his play has become quite evident to Kasarov.”It feels like it was yesterday,” Kasarov said of his first match. “I’ve grown up a lot since then, my game has changed a lot. It’s unbelievable how fast my career went by, though.”Perhaps more important than Kasarov’s success on the court has been the leadership and stability that he has provided over the last couple of seasons. As a captain last season, Kasarov helped ease the transition of a new coach. As this season’s only senior, Kasarov has been a major player in guiding and inspiring the team. For his contributions, his teammates and coaches hold him in the highest regard.”The energy [Kasarov] brings, he’s one of the best motivators I’ve ever met,” junior Jeremy Sonkin said. “He gets us to (do) things I can’t even imagine us doing, and our success this year is largely because of him.””He’s just a great person, a great guy,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “He’s what coaches look for in a student-athlete when they come and represent the university; he’s all that combined.”Although his last match at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium is nothing more than a memory, Kasarov’s time here is not.UW will begin postseason play this weekend with the Big Ten tournament, and if all goes well, will move on to the NCAA tournament, giving Kasarov a few opportunities to put the finishing touches on his career.”We have huge momentum going in, and I’m really fired up to do some damage and go deep in the tournament,” Kasarov said.Although his time at UW will end whenever and wherever his season finally comes to a close, Kasarov’s legacy will live on.”Losing him is going to hurt next season,” Sonkin said. “But hopefully we can take what we’ve learned from him and continue to use that in the future.”last_img read more