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Fall Signing Week '15: Fighting Irish Bet on Gamble

He played his first tournament at 9 years old in his hometown of Webster, New York, and quickly learned that a bagel on the tennis court leaves a bad aftertaste. But Matthew Gamble was not about to let an 8-0 defeat derail his fledgling tennis career.

Matthew Gamble has committed to Notre Dame
"I remember being super upset and really disappointed," he said, laughing as he remembered his bumpy tennis beginnings. "I think I was more determined after that. The guy who I played was really good back in the day, and I knew that I could get to where he was, so I was determined to keep going."

He had been playing tennis for just one year prior to that first loss, having made his way to the court through the process of elimination. Gamble's parents encouraged him to play the field when it came to athletics, trying baseball, soccer, basketball and golf before hitting his first tennis ball.

"I really liked the individual aspect of the game, and I thought that golf was too boring," he said. "I eventually narrowed it down to baseball and tennis, and I just thought that tennis was a lot more exciting."

By age 14, Gamble was a one-sport athlete. Working with former pro and USC standout Billy Nealon at the Tennis Club of Rochester, Gamble developed a booming forehand and an "aggressive baseliner" style of play, helping him maintain a top-15 recruiting ranking over the past four years. Though that first tournament loss left an indelible mark on his tennis timeline, Gamble credits his ability to see the big picture for his remarkable consistency.

"I think it goes back to staying level-headed and not letting tennis and results consume my life," he explained. "Losses suck for everyone, but learning to deal with them and seeing what you can do to improve is what I do well."

Gamble approached the recruiting process with that same laid-back mentality.

"I thought it would have been pretty cool to go to an Ivy League school and play tennis for them," said Gamble, a four-year National Honor Society member with an affinity for both math and history. "But as the recruiting process went on, I was realizing that there were great academic schools that put a little more emphasis on athletics, which was pretty cool."

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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