Skip to main content
Best Bets

Court Culture

Despite the language barrier, tennis players “Joe and Bo” double up for success.

NC State tennis players Joe Wayand and Martin Borisiouk hold tennis rackets.
Joe Wayand, left, and Martin Borisiouk, right. Photographs courtesy of NC State Athletics.

By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

NC State tennis player Martin Borisiouk, a Belarus native, is still perfecting his English. But Borisiouk and his doubles teammate, junior Joe Wayand, agree language isn’t required for their success. Together, the pair ended the fall 2023 season with a 9-0 record, a No. 13 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association doubles rankings and a catchy nickname — Joe and Bo.

“We have language problems and barriers,” says Borisiouk, a sophomore majoring in sport management. “But, at the same time, on the tennis court, we’re on the same page. And our game is pretty similar.”

Wayand, a junior from Cary, N.C., who’s majoring in business administration, chalks up their success to that compatibility and their coaching. Wolfpack head coach Kyle Spencer represented Great Britain in doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and has experience with the sport at a high level. “If you follow what [Spencer is] saying, it all makes sense on the court,” Wayand says. “That’s where the unspoken agreements can come into play and benefit us.”

When they have time off the court, you might find the two refueling at Coco Bongo, a Mexican restaurant on Hillsborough Street, where Wayand orders arroz con pollo and Borisiouk gets fajitas. Borisiouk is also teaching Wayand about his culture, including a few Russian phrases and an appreciation for Russian classical music: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is a favorite for Borisiouk. “I’m getting into that,” Wayand says of the music. “It’s pretty good.”

Borisiouk revels in the team’s camaraderie. “We practice hard during practice,” he says. “But after practice, we’re always making jokes.” And Wayand, who grew up just a few miles from campus, has embraced the opportunity to learn about a culture so far removed from his own. “It’s weird to see how similar you are,” he says, “not just as tennis players, but just as guys.”

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.