Denmark may not be known internationally for its great tennis players, but out of the Scandinavian country came Tobias Galskov, the No. 1 tennis player on the UCSB men’s tennis team.
Galskov followed his fellow Danes to UCSB and he could not be happier with his decision of where to play Division I tennis. Fellow Danish-born players Philip Therp, the Big West Player of the Year in 2008, and Alex Konigsfeldt paved the way for Galskov to become a Gaucho and dominate his opponents.
“Philip and I are quite good friends,” Galskov said. “When I go back in the summer we will play on the same team, and we were doubles partners last summer. Both of those guys are still playing, and it’s cool to have some fellow Gauchos back home.”
Galskov began his journey to UCSB when he first picked up a tennis racket as a five year old. The youngest of four kids, he had watched his two older brothers and sister play the sport he now loves and wanted to give it a try. After playing tennis and soccer for a few years he chose to focus on tennis when he was eight. He then began playing at an academy after school when he was 10 and continued to do so in high school while also competing in national tournaments.
“I was always the number one player in my age group in Denmark and I began traveling with the national team near the end of high school,” Galskov said. “I went to the European Championships and a lot of national tournaments which took up a lot of time.”
When thinking about what he wanted to do after high school, Galskov always knew he wanted tennis to be an integral part of it. He began writing to coaches in the United States hoping to hear responses back from them. He eventually settled for Foothill Community College in Northern California. Galskov also did all of this future life-planning without his parents’ knowledge.
“My parents have always been very supportive. My dad has watched a lot of tennis over the years and has sort of become my ‘mental coach,’” Galskov said. “My parents didn’t know much about my plan for college. I wrote all the letters myself, and I think after everything they were quite impressed with how I organized everything.”
The two years at Foothill were not much of a challenge for Galskov. He commented on the easy practices and that even though he played No. 1 most of the matches, he did not give up a game. After his first year, he was ranked No. 1 in the nation for singles and No. 4 for doubles in the community college rankings. Galskov decided after his first year at Foothill that he would spend his second year of junior college back home in Denmark practicing harder and taking online courses. He then started the process of writing letters to coaches again, and this time UCSB wanted him for the team.
“The transition to UCSB hasn’t been that hard actually,” Galskov said. “We had the quarter system [at Foothill] and the academics were good up there. Here the practices are longer and much harder.”
Galskov is enjoying his time at UCSB, living near the beach and having long summers. He enjoys all the choices for food but says that some of them are not as good as back home. Galskov also loves the laid-back lifestyle of the people and how friendly everyone is.
When looking towards the future, Galskov, a third-year global studies major, is unsure but optimistic about where he will end up. A lot of his decisions depend on how much he improves on the tennis court in the next year.
“If I keep improving, I might want to try to play professionally after college,” Galskov said. “If not, then I will probably go back to Denmark and go to graduate school because it’s free there, so that’s a good opportunity. But maybe I will travel with friends and try to play professionally in Europe. It all depends on this next year of improvement.”
When looking at this year of tennis where Galskov has moved up in the ranks of the Gaucho tennis team to secure the No. 1 singles spot and No. 1 doubles spot with his partner, junior Ziad Sultan, this is exactly where he had planned to be and he has definitely impressed his coaches.
“Tobias has far exceeded my expectations this year,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “He made a quantum leap of tennis levels in the fall and it has made him such a better player. We didn’t see him as our number one starting the year, but now he has that top spot secured down.”
Galskov has led the Gauchos this year with 14 dual-match victories and hopes to lead UCSB to a Big West Conference Championship and to secure a birth in the NCAA tournament this upcoming weekend.
A version of this article appeared on page 14 of April 23rd’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of the Daily Nexus.