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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

From the Snow to the South, how Duncan Chan made it to Fort Worth.

A tennis ball at the TCU tennis courts. (Photo by Jack Wallace)

From the sprawling suburb of Markham, Ontario, freshman Duncan Chan has navigated through an outlandish, non-traditional path to “Funky-town.”

Lined with white-picket fences and town squares out of movie scenes, Chan was born and raised in Markham, where he was actually born less than three minutes away from his house. Known for their Asian community, Markham is home to a few hundred thousand people, but wasn’t the only place that Chan was comfortable with. 

Before becoming and falling in love with tennis, Chan held one strong identity – a little brother. Being a little brother comes with one thing, a want to hang out with his older brother. Chan and his brother, Kendall Chan, would play tennis games on the Nintendo DS and Wii, a seemingly ancient pair of gaming systems that raised many Generation Z children alongside their parents.

These games sparked a flame in Chan’s mind, and would subtly lead him into the game he knows today. 

After spending time playing tennis virtually, Chan and his brother asked their mom if they could go play with her, as she frequently tried to play at local tennis centers. This, however, was sometimes difficult to do.

“That’s the problem with being from Canada,” said Chan. “Finding courts in Canada was super difficult. The weather was a big factor, and rates for indoor court time could set us back almost $40-50 per hour.”

As Chan grew older and started high school, he struggled to find opportunities to play tennis.

“There is no high school sports system in Canada like there is in the states,” said Chan. “But it honestly helped me in the long run, as it pushed me to take initiative in finding my own tournaments to play in.”

After his sophomore year, Chan started taking online classes asynchronously, taking time to travel around the world, competing in junior international tournaments. He said that this would aid in his exposure to sponsors and colleges, which would allow him to play at the next level.

“I traveled everywhere, but definitely had some favorites,” said Chan. “Milan was number one. I remember scootering around downtown, eating really good food and just having a great time with my friends.”

Obviously after all of these experiences and the path that Chan took, it’s hard to figure out how Chan settled in Fort Worth. 

“I just got lucky!” said Chan. “I barely qualified for the U.S. Open qualifying in 2022, and started playing a match against a guy that was way better than I was. Luckily, I locked in, and coach Devin Bowen was walking right behind my court. I must’ve caught his attention or something because he stayed and watched my first two sets.”

Coach Bowen then reached out to Chan, brought Chan to campus for the first time, and extended an invitation to join the team less than a month later.

Being on the team, Chan has had a blast. He’s loved the continuous opportunity to play, regardless of weather, and has loved getting to know his teammates and staff as he integrates into the Horned Frog family.

“The guys are like brothers at this point,” said Chan. “Having nine other guys who are better than you has helped motivate me and make me better.”

Since being at TCU, Chan has undergone some changes to his game. These changes, namely to his serve and forehand, have been spearheaded by coach Bowen and head coach David Roditi. 

“They sat me down outright and talked to me about some changes that they wanted to see,” said Chan. “It was a great decision to listen, it’s given me tons of new skills and tons of confidence in my game.”

On the court now, Chan is partnered with junior Lui Maxtead, and has been part of pivotal doubles play that has kept TCU’s record strong at 10-1.

“I don’t want to hype him up much because he needs to be humbled,” said Chan, jokingly. “But he really is the best partner I could ask for. He builds me up during matches and keeps me in check when I need it.”

Chan has loved his tennis experience at TCU, and looks forward to the next few years on the team and his permanent place solidified in the Horned Frog history books. 

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