Boyer On Top Of His Game
Toby Boyer is a senior from Ham Lake, Minnesota, and the younger brother of Dusty Boyer, who played tennis at Nebraska from 2012-16 and ranks No. 4 on the school’s top singles career victories list with 89. Toby is No. 7 on that list with 74 victories and counting after wins last week against Josip Krstanovic of Minnesota and Lukas Moenter of Loyola Marymount. That helped him earn co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career. Toby visited with Brian Rosenthal of Huskers.com to discuss his career and recent success.
BR: Congratulations on your Big Ten honor. How would you say you’ve been playing lately?
Toby: “It’s some of the best tennis I’ve played, I think. I don’t know if I’ve played better. I’m playing solid, serving really well and have a lot of confidence in my game, which is probably the biggest thing, confidence.
BR: What do you think has been the difference?
Toby: “Physically, I’ve felt so good. Last year, I was right there with guys, and I’d kind of drop off just a little bit, get a little tired, run out of breath. I think I had, I’m not sure what it is, but it’s like a small thing of Celiac, like a gluten thing. So I cut out all of that, and in my third sets and long points and stuff, I’ve just had a little extra edge, I think. I’ve tried to eat healthier and work on my game a lot. Everything started to click and everything is coming around, and the confidence came with it. Any little advantage you get, you’ve got to use it.”
BR: How exciting was it to beat a top 25 team for the first time since 2010, when Nebraska defeated No. 18 Minnesota?
Toby: “My freshman year we beat a couple of top 50 teams, but to beat a team that was 18, it was crazy. It wasn’t completely out of nowhere, but it was stretch for us. It was like, ‘Are we going to beat them? We have a chance.’ It was unreal. It was a great day for Nebraska tennis. Everyone was pumped, and all of our guys, 1-6, were just fighting, which is really awesome.”
BR: What’s the transition been like with a new coach this season, and what impact has Sean Maymi had on the program?
Toby: “We’ve had a lot of change. Fall, we didn’t really play well, little out of it, doing so many new, different things, training differently, but then especially in the last month, I think things are starting to click for us. We’re getting adjusted and getting comfortable with him, which is really big. He’s obsessed with tennis. He loves it. He’s all about it, and always looking for new ways to learn. He’s also tough. No. B.S. He’s on you. You’re not getting by with anything. That’s how I do it, too. You need to be on guys. Some guys need a little more kick in the butt.”
BR: When did you first begin playing tennis, and why?
Toby: “I was about 3 or 4 when I first started hitting around. But basically my parents threw me in everything. I think at one point I was in basketball, baseball, tennis, gymnastics and soccer, and all within the same calendar year. My mom played college basketball, my dad played basketball. They both liked tennis, but they were more into basketball. But eventually my brother picked tennis, and I kind of saw when he got good and thought maybe I could, too.”
BR: Would you have come to Nebraska had your brother not played here?
Toby: “Yeah, there’s no way without him. No chance, I don’t think. He was talking to some schools, like Michigan State, but in our minds he was probably going to go Minnesota. Then McDermott came and was just such a great guy and he impressed my family and Dusty, and out of nowhere, it was, ‘I want to go there, to Nebraska.’ He loved it, said the community was great and everybody was obsessed with sports, which is my family.”
BR: What’s it mean to you to see your name gradually climb up the total career wins list at Nebraska?
Toby: “Yeah, that’s really cool. I think Christopher Aumueller is in front of me, and Dusty, and all of those names, those guys are really, really good players. Some of the best players in the country, when they were playing. It’s really cool to be right up there with them. If you would have told me that in high school that I’d be right up there with them I’d be like, ‘Right, no way.’ It’s pretty awesome.”
BR: What would you say is the biggest strength of your game?
Toby: “I think my movement is probably my biggest thing. I think my footwork and quickness.”
BR: Of all the other sports you’ve tried, which one would you play if not tennis?
Toby: “I don’t know. I really love baseball. I was in seventh grade, loved baseball, played shortstop, did a little bit of pitching. Our team was really good. I loved it. But at age 12 I picked tennis over baseball. Basketball, too, I played varsity basketball sophomore and junior year of high school. So one of those. Basketball would be pretty cool, I think.”
BR: If you could spend a day with any professional tennis player, maybe even play a match together, who would it be, and why?
Toby: “I mean, Federer is my favorite player, probably, but I really love Borg and McEnroe, from the older … it was just so cool. Maybe Borg, just because he’s so quiet and you don’t really know, maybe see what he does.”
BR: What do these facilities (built in 2015) mean to the program?
Toby: “This is insane, crazy. When Dusty came here they were at Vine Courts, which is basically like some high school courts. And to this … some top 10 teams could easily come out of this. Before, they had some good teams and stuff, but to really make that jump … with getting American guys, too, it’s huge. I think they can be a top 20 program in five years, maybe quicker.”
BR: Favorite part about the state of Minnesota?
Toby: “Minnesota is home. I love it. All of my family is there. Summer time is the best, to go through the hard winter and then get rewarded with some nice lake weather. I didn’t get too into fishing, but I love being outdoors, though. I liked dirt biking. I have a little motorcycle here in Lincoln that I drive on some back roads and stuff. I love being outdoors.”
What are your career plans after Nebraska?
Toby: “I’ll graduate in December, but I’m going to play tournaments, try to travel and play. My brother, he’s in Australia right now playing, in a semi-pro league. I just want to try to play and see how good I can really get. Just play in a bunch of tournaments and see if I can get hot. You never know.”
Reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.