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DJ Uiagalelei becomes serving specialist for Clemson women’s tennis

Lawton Hilliard, Contributor

Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei celebrates against South Carolina State in Memorial Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is trading his cleats in for a tennis racquet this summer to help the women’s tennis team improve its serving motion and speed.  

Clemson women’s tennis has had an up-and-down season thus far, defeating Louisville and Notre Dame, and head coach Christy Lynch looked to recruit someone who can help the team improve its serving performance.  

Uiagalelei may not be an experienced tennis coach, but he brings an elite knowledge of throwing motions, which are similar to tennis serving motions, to the team.  

Quarterbacks like Uiagalelei reach back and throw the football to their target, finishing their motion across their body. Since the motion of throwing a football mirrors a serve in tennis, Lynch looked to recruit Uiagalelei as the team’s expert serving specialist. 

Although Uiagalelei may not have had the highest completion percentages in college football, the tennis team looks to utilize Uiagalelei’s understanding of the fundamental throwing mechanics and his ability to generate power effortlessly to move the ball downfield to help them improve their serving accuracy and speed. 

During the summer, Uiagalelei has a busy schedule to prepare for the 2022 Clemson football season and has to keep his starting role from freshman Cade Klubnik. Uiagalelei will have to balance his new role as an expert serving specialist for the women’s tennis team with his demands of summer football training.  

This coaching partnership between Uiagalelei and Lynch could continue in the fall, but both will have to evaluate how Uiagalelei can logistically practice five days a week and play games on Saturdays. 

Uiagalelei may not only have touchdowns on his mind in the fall, but serving aces too. 

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