Student-athlete of the Month: Davide Callegari

Italian tennis transfer holds serve on the court and in the classroom at UND

Davide Callegari

Callegari, a junior, transferred to UND after playing out a scholarship at his first American university, North Carolina Central. He says, “I heard about the reputation of UND around the country and from some of my mates that play tennis. I was really impressed and I’m proud to be here.” Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Ranked 98th in Europe for his age group, Davide Callegari, at the time, thought professional tennis was his future.

Born and raised in Padova — a city ten minutes from Venice in northeastern Italy — Callegari travelled across Europe to compete. But after being diagnosed with a rare disorder and requiring surgery, he realized it was time to shift gears.

“I thought, well, I don’t think becoming a professional tennis player is my way anymore,” Callegari reflected. His condition slowed him down to the point where he felt it was better to focus on his final year of high school.

But his playing days aren’t over yet.

Now at UND on a full tennis scholarship, Callegari’s difficult decisions have yielded rewards.

“It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made in coming to the States,” he said, wanting to thank his parents for their encouragement. “They said it’s an opportunity that you cannot lose because you only live once – you’ll get an incredible education and simultaneously play at an incredible level.”

Hop, skip and a jump

Callegari, a junior, transferred to UND after playing out a scholarship at his first American university — North Carolina Central.

“I wanted to try something more challenging for my education,” he said. “I heard about the reputation of UND around the country and from some of my mates that play tennis. I was really impressed and I’m proud to be here.”

The Italian arrived for the fall 2017 semester and has his sights set on a managerial finance and accounting degree from the UND College of Business & Public Administration. It’s been a matter of catching up on essential studies requirements, but Callegari is hitting aces so far.

“I’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA during my university career,” he said. “Since we’re (currently) in season, it will be harder, but I’m going to try my best.”

Self-described as a hard worker on and off the court, Callegari enjoys seeking information on a variety of topics, whether it’s math, physics or economics. He also has an affinity for working with and understanding others.

“I chose to take this degree because I see myself as a CFO or CEO of an international company, since I love speaking different languages.” said Callegari, who’s fluent in Italian, Spanish, English and French. “I love keeping in touch with people of different nationalities and making conversations about general topics. It helps me see how people think about a specific issue.”

Davide Callegari

Callegari says his immediate goals are to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA and earn the season’s MVP Award for UND Men’s Tennis. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Assuming the role

Tennis Head Coach Tom Wynne thinks Callegari — the team’s eldest at age 22 — sets an example for what it takes to succeed.

“He’s a great asset to our team, he’s the perfect example of a student athlete,” Wynne said. “He takes both roles seriously and allocates his time so he can do well at both. Callegari also competes well, which is a big deal because at this level everyone has game.”

To keep up with the competition, the junior player keeps a tight regimen. As he put it, everything in the day has its place.

“Being a student athlete is more than going to class or going to the court and showing up,” Callegari said. “Being a student athlete means that you have to succeed at both. You have to be a role model for people and you have to lead by example for the future students that are coming here.”

Looking ahead

One goal for Callegari is to gain valuable experience through an internship here in the United States. He’s also looking forward to getting into the upper levels of business school at UND. The level of dedication from the faculty here has drawn his admiration.

“The professors are great in explaining concepts,” he says. “They’re able to communicate their love and passion for the subject and share in their experiences. Professors always take the opportunity of sharing their experiences with the classes, to make us understand through the real world.”

His other goals are to maintain that perfect GPA and earn the MVP Award for this tennis season. Competition is steep, though, and Callegari appreciates the push from his teammates to keep improving his game.

“The goal, individually, is to win as many matches as possible,” he said. “We already made history when we beat Sacramento State (the No. 3 team from the Big Sky Conference Preseason Poll – UND was polled dead last). It was good for us and gave us the right motivation.”