Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+
Davies Excels in Leadership Role
Women's Tennis  . 

Davies Excels in Leadership Role

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

Megan Davies was ready for a big year, and she hasn’t disappointed. After two years of outstanding play in the middle and lower part of the South Carolina tennis lineup, the junior from Wolverhampton, England, was becoming a team-leader as she moved up to the No. 2 spot in the singles lineup where she was ranked as high as 20th nationally. She credits maturity and the foundation laid out by the upperclassmen before her in helping her succeed.

“I think it was taking on that responsibility of being an upperclassman,” Davies said. “The last two years, I was the youngest playing person on the team. All of the sudden I’m one of the oldest ones on the team. We have a lot of new faces. Being able to carry on the standards and culture we have as a team from last year’s team and building that unit, and that trust and foundation with the freshmen is part of what I had to do.

“Being able to focus on myself at the same time when it comes to a match and focusing on what I can do on the court in my position is part of it, too. Every point is just as important at every position. It all counts the same. We all have our own responsibility, so it’s important to stay focused on my routines and do what I need to do to get into the right mental space for a match and making sure I’m tactfully implementing my game. If you do all of that well, the freshmen will see that and do a solid job, too. Just staying focused has been an essential part of my game this year.”

Being older doesn’t guarantee success in the higher spots in the lineup, but Davies was well-prepared and had already won 24 singles matches in the fall and first portion of the spring season.

“I didn’t try to think about it too much,” Davies said. “I just thought about it as an opportunity. I played well in the fall, and my ranking got up there. I played a lot of good players in the fall, so it wasn’t such a huge jump in going up to No. 2 in our lineup in the spring. That experience made me believe that I could do it against top players. I didn’t feel much pressure playing at 2.”

“We just have to put our health and safety before college tennis at the moment.”

The Gamecocks were coming off a fantastic season last year in which they won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. They welcomed in the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class this year, and Davies knew it was up to the older players to help the young talent adjust to the college game and understanding the expectations for the program.
Megan Davies vs Georgia Tech - 1/26/20
“I wouldn’t say there was pressure that we had to do well or get a certain ranking,” Davies said. “It’s more of keeping up the standards that we’ve had in previous years. Now it’s our responsibility to make sure we keep those things in place. That was more pressure than having to win. ­­

“The upperclassmen used to always say stuff to us and tell us how it would make more sense when we’re older. Now, as an upperclassman, I do see things that maybe I didn’t really understand as a freshman or sophomore. So now I’m saying those things to our underclassmen. I was lucky to have such great leadership from my upperclassmen. I’m learning from that and putting it in place for the younger members of our team.”

The Gamecocks got off to a great start this spring, winning their first four SEC matches before the season was cancelled prior to a road trip due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a very strange morning,” Davies said. “We were about to leave for Tennessee at 9:30 a.m. We had all of our bags on the bus, and one thing led to another and it was five minutes later, and five more minutes later and so on. Then (Coach) Kevin (Epley) said we’re not going to leave yet, and that we’re just going to practice at home this morning and wait for the SEC to make a decision at 12 o’clock.

“We practiced like normal. Then we were told they were going to suspend the season (initially). It was a bit of a shock. Some of us got quite upset. Ultimately, we would find out that they had called the season. It was really hard for the seniors because they had worked so hard for three and a half years. At that moment, we didn’t know if they would have another year of eligibility. We all met afterwards and tried to keep our team spirit up, even though we’re done with tennis for now.”

With the coronavirus a world-wide concern, Davies has more on her mind than tennis.

“I’ve been in contact with my family more than ever,” Davies said. “As of now, I’m staying in the U.S. They’re closing things down at home now. I’m just taking it day by day and assessing what happens. It’s tough because it’s not like I can make a quick trip home and come back whenever I want. If I go home, I don’t know when I’d get to come back into the U.S.”

Davies is an advertising major with a minor in business administration, and she is interested in getting into college coaching in the future or working in an advertising agency. Accustomed to a busy schedule with classes, practice and travel, she is trying to adjust like everyone else to the new normal.

“It’s actually very difficult. We’re used to being so busy with classes, practice, meals, tutors or whatever, while trying to have a social life,” Davies said. “Now, we’re not allowed to practice. We’re not allowed to work out as a team. What we’re used to is completely gone, all of the sudden.

“It’s a very strange time. I’m just doing workouts from home and catching up on schoolwork. We can’t practice, so I’m just taking each day as it comes and finding out what’s happening in the world. We just have to put our health and safety before college tennis at the moment.”

That being said, Davies is trying to stay positive and looks forward to the day when things get back to normal, when she can join her teammates on the court.

“We had a very young team, but now we’ll have a lot of experience since the freshmen have had almost a year, and hopefully we’ll keep our seniors,” Davies said.  “We all get along really well, which is nice. There’s a lot of team spirit and understanding of what the program is all about. So, we’ll just build on what we did this year. We improved a lot as a team. We’ve laid a foundation, and I think everyone will be way more excited to get started again once we get to that point.

“We’re trying to look at things in a positive light.”