Marc Rocafort

Jan. 14, 2009

Tennis has been a life-long passion of Marc Rocafort's from a very young age. The junior whom originally hails from Barcelona, Spain, recently transferred to UCF from Middle Tennessee State so that he could compete at a higher level against some of the toughest competition in the country.

Since arriving in Orlando, Rocafort has enjoyed the transition to the Florida lifestyle. His teammates and coaches have made it easy on him by assisting in whichever way they can.

"It has been really good. I feel like the people here have helped me a lot," said Rocafort. "The coaches have done all they can do. They have helped me a lot in my short time in Orlando."

Prior to his arrival at UCF, Rocafort's two seasons at Middle Tennessee State were very successful. In 2007-08 he recorded a 16-15 singles record, and finished with an 11-10 mark in dual-match play. Along the way to his 16 victories, Rocafort earned a spot in the national rankings, moving up to 88 on March 4, 2008.

One of the junior's goals for this season is to crack the top 60 in the national rankings. Armed with a lethal 125-130 mph serve and powerful forehand, UCF head tennis coach Bobby Cashman knows that anything is possible for Rocafort.

"Marc is capable of beating anyone in the country if he puts his mind to it," commented Cashman. "He will bring confidence to the team, but will also win some singles matches at the top of the lineup, which is huge for us."

Among those that are happy to have Rocafort on the team are his teammates. The Spaniard noted that since he has arrived, many of the players have expressed their excitement to him and know that he will be a key contributor to their success this season.

Since Rocafort is now in his third year competing at the college level, he knows that he must set a good example for the underclassmen that are looking up to him.

"I am one of the leaders, but not the only one," noted Rocafort. "I think some of the freshmen and sophomores look up to me."

Transferring from a Sun Belt school to a Conference USA squad is a challenge that Rocafort relishes. UCF will be competing against some of the top teams in the nation this season and will also host the end of the season C-USA Tournament. Cashman knows that the opportunity for Rocafort and the other players to be able to be a part of the host-team is definitely an advantage.

"Obviously you play better at home and you have the home-court advantage," said Cashman. "(Hosting the tournament) is also an advantage to us because of the weather and I think that will show up."

In his first fall season with the Knights, Rocafort finished with a perfect 3-0 singles record. The junior recorded all three victories at the C.L. Varner Memorial Invitational winning the flight A crown. Along the way to winning the title, Rocafort defeated Barry's Emmaniel Fraitzl, 6-3, 6-1, Rollins' Neil Clausen, 6-4, 6-2, and Stetson's Njal Stene in the finals, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

While many players are able to have their parents come and watch them compete at tournaments, Rocafort is only able to communicate with his parents by a long distance phone call. His parents, Lius Rocafort and Olsa Dolc, live in Barcelona. Although they live thousands of miles away, Rocafort is able to visit at least once a year when he goes home for Christmas break.

The size, speed and strength of Rocafort give UCF another great player at the top of their lineup. For the team to reach it's goal of making it to the NCAA Tournament, Rocafort's presence may just be the recipe for postseason success that the Knight are looking for.

- Eric DeSalvo