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MSU men’s tennis team has big impact on seniors

April 26, 2023
<p>MSU Men's Tennis huddles up before their match against PSU on April 9, 2023.</p>

MSU Men's Tennis huddles up before their match against PSU on April 9, 2023.

Photo by Henry Szymecko | The State News

Senior Kazuki Matsuno and fifth-year Anthony Pero were honored on Sunday, April 23 at the MSU Tennis Center during their Senior Day match against Northwestern.

Although the team lost 6-1, the two had a lot to say about their experience with the team.

Ahead of playing his last home match Matsuno said he was feeling a lot of emotions that he hasn’t fully processed yet. 

MSU Men’s Tennis vs Brown (4-1)

Senior Katsuki Matsuno winds up for a serve in doubles match with freshman David Saye (6-4) on Jan. 21, 2023.

“That's really a crazy feeling because I feel like there's been a lot of ups and downs,” Matsuno said. “A lot of things that have happened on campus and just throughout the world during my time here, but it's crazy. I mean, I'm excited at the same time. I'm pretty sure there's gonna be a lot of negative emotions, pretty tough emotions to go through once it comes closer and also when it when it is actually over at home."

It didn’t really hit Pero that this would be his last home match until he hit his last ball. He said it is a special feeling and that during doubles and singles, he would just look up and smile because he was really in the moment. 

He said there’s nothing he loves more than competing.

Matsuno said graduating from Michigan State feels good, like a next chapter in life. But it’s definitely going to be hard.


Senior Kazuki Matsuno encourages the men's tennis team ahead of their singles matches against Michigan at the MSU Tennis Center on March 30, 2023. The Spartans lost to the Wolverines 6-1.

Right now, he’s looking to see if he will be staying in the area or not for the next year. 

“But there's a great community here,” Matsuno said. “Great, just unbelievable atmosphere and coaches, the guys. And to be able to graduate from a program like that and be there for four years, the past four years, I'm really honored to learn to do that and just feel really blessed.” 

Matsuno said he would love to get into college coaching and is excited to go anywhere. He also might take up doubles tournaments after leaving. 

Pero said graduating from MSU was never something he was really worried about. As an engineering major he always did well in the classroom but leaving the team will be difficult. 

Pero has applied to a couple of jobs and plans to coach his brother who is trying to play tennis in college. He said he is going to visit some old teammates, take some trips and time off. 

He said he loves the sport so if he gets the chance to volunteer especially with the team, he’d love the opportunity. Pero will also keep checking the scores and watching the matches, he thinks next year will be great with the team developing. 

They plan to stay connected to the team and coaches by visiting during alumni weekend in the fall, and by messaging over Snapchat where they have a group chat with former teammates as well. 


Fifth-year Anthony Pero and senior Kazuki Matsuno kiss the Spartan head at the senior day ceremony during a match against Northwestern on Sunday, April 23 at the MSU Indoor Tennis Center.

Matsuno said what he is going to take away from his experience playing tennis in college is not taking anything for granted.

“I think the feeling of entitlement takes away a lot from someone's experience, the appreciation of someone's experience,” Matsuno said. “And really finding things to be thankful for throughout each experience, whether it be tough or whether it be easy.”

Pero said the team had a big impact on him.

“Every guy on this team is a leader and everybody brings something special. And yeah, my fellow senior always keeps me in check and the guys have always made me better, always coaching me, always pushing me.” 


Fifth-year Anthony Pero leaves the court following his singles match against Northwestern on Sunday, April 23 at the MSU Indoor Tennis Center. This would be Pero’s last home match as a senior.


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