Jan. 20, 2016

By: Melissa Riordan

Since his rookie season, University of Notre Dame men’s tennis junior Josh Hagar has played an integral role for the Irish. A starter in both doubles and singles, Hagar has consistently played a key role in several different positions throughout the Irish lineup. During his sophomore season, Hagar claimed the 2014 ITA Midwest Regional Doubles Championship along with classmate Eddy Covalschi, and recorded key victories in matches at the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Championship and the ITA Midwest Regional Singles Championship. He earned a monogram as both a freshman and a sophomore. Hagar hails from Austin, Texas, and was a member of the USTA Junior National Champion tennis team in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

How did you get involved in playing tennis?
I started playing when I was about three or four, just going to the courts with my dad. It was really fun. Then I got a little bit more serious when a friend of mine invited me out to a summer camp, and I really loved it. I never really turned back from there.

Do you have any pre-match rituals or traditions?
Yeah, I guess a lot of people will listen to music and that’s my thing. I listen to music. I also have a really specific way I grip my racquet, which is different. I play right handed, but I actually grip my racquet left handed. I’m probably the only person who likes to grip my racquet that way, which is interesting.

If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?
I played soccer before I played tennis, and I really liked that. I definitely love soccer because it’s a really physical sport, and I like the team aspect of it. Another would be boxing. I like the one-on-one aspect of it like tennis; it’s only two people in there, and also the physicality of it is pretty awesome, too.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and why?
I really like Novak Djokovic. He obviously plays tennis so that’s a little bit cliché, I guess. I think he’s such a hard worker, and I really admire the way he does his thing. I love watching him play.

Who is your goofiest teammate and why?
I’d say Alex Lawson. He’s a big guy, but he’s definitely goofy. He’s always willing to crack a joke or pull a prank on somebody.

What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
I’m really into Parks and Rec right now. It’s really entertaining. I actually started back on the first season this week, and I’m already halfway through the third season so I’m right there.

What is your spirit animal and why?
I don’t know if I have a personal spirit animal per se, but last year we had a team spirit animal, and it was a falcon. I don’t remember specifically what the bird stood for, but it was something like freedom and independence and diligence. It’s our team spirit animal, but it’s also kind of a joke. We have this one kid who every time we see a bird he’ll yell ‘falcon!’ which is funny, so I really like the falcon I’d say.

What is one thing you can’t live without?
I guess I’ll go the favorite food route here because I don’t know if I could live without Tex-Mex. I’m from Texas, and I love Mexican and I think Tex-Mex is awesome.

Since you’re from Texas, how did you adjust to South Bend and the weather here?
Well my freshman year it was the Polar Vortex, and it was the worst winter in I don’t know how long. It was definitely an adjustment. I would say I definitely prepared myself for it being pretty bad, but I just convinced myself and said, “Okay, every time I go outside I’m going to be numb, and it’s going to be freezing.” It was a struggle the first couple of months for sure.