Player of the Week: Pepperdine’s Savannah Broadus

02_SavannahBroadus_ Photo by Etienne Jeanneret.jpg Pepperdine women's tennis player Savannah Broadus (third from left) celebrates with her U.S. teammates and coach Greg Patton (in front with trophy) after winning the Master‘U BNP Paribas Championships in Honfleur, France, this month. Photo by Etienne Jeanneret

Broadus was part of U.S. national squad that won international event in France this month 

Pepperdine Waves women’s tennis player Savannah Broadus is no stranger to big wins on the tennis court. The 21-year-old has won singles and doubles tournament titles throughout her college career. 

However, Broadus’ latest triumph happened across the pond as she was representing the red, white, and blue. 

The junior, an International Tennis Association All-American and Doubles Champion, was part of the USA National Collegiate squad that downed European competition and won the championship at the 16th Master‘U BNP Paribas Championships in Honfleur, France, on Dec. 3.

Broadus said traveling to France’s Normandy region and seizing the three-day championship’s top spot was the biggest win of her tennis career.

“I have done some amazing things in my tennis career so far, but this is something that is so special,” she recalled last week. “Winning it is such a surreal feeling. I look back at the pictures and say, ‘I can’t believe I was there.’ It was awesome. It was amazing.”

Broadus is The Malibu Times’ Athlete of the Week because of her play in the international triumph. 

Broadus won two doubles, one singles and one mixed doubles match en route to Team USA’s first-place finish. The Pepperdine standout said the competition was exceptional. 

“We had some tough matches against all the countries we faced,” Broadus noted.

This is the fourth consecutive time a squad composed of top U.S. college talent has won the Master‘U BNP Paribas Championships. The stars and stripes have won the title 12 times in the event’s 16-year history and nine of the past 10. 

This year’s Team USA squad outlasted those from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, and Switzerland. 

Broadus was one of six college tennis players from across the nation selected to play on the team. The group included women’s players Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M and Fiona Crawley of North Carolina and men’s players Eliot Spizzirri of Texas, Murphy Cassone of Arizona State, and Gavin Young of Michigan. 

Washington women’s tennis coach Robin Stephenson and former Boise State men’s tennis coach Greg Patton led the all-star bunch.

The ITA selected the first two of the three women’s players on the squad. The tennis organization let Stephenson choose the third. After talking with Pepperdine head coach Per Nilsson, Stephenson texted Broadus in early October to ask her to join the American crew. 

Broadus, a Texas native who dreamed of representing the U.S. on the tennis court, jumped at the opportunity.

“I was excited,” recalled Broadus, who finished Pepperdine’s fall season in November as one half of the ITA national ranking’s fifth-rated doubles tandem and the 21st ranked singles player. “I didn’t comprehend I was going until I was on the flight. I didn’t even realize I was in the picture or in the conversation. I was so nervous, but I knew it was going to be one of the best experiences of my life.”  

Broadus has won numerous ITA and West Coast Conference honors, but she had butterflies in her stomach when she stepped on the court for the championships’ opening match. 

“There was a lot of pressure because I had to set the tone,” Broadus remembered. “I don’t think I have ever been as nervous at a match before.”

Once she realized her teammates supported her, Broadus said the butterflies stopped fluttering, and she defeated Sarah Hawkshaw 6-4, 6-1 to put the Americans up in what resulted in a victory over Ireland in the quarterfinals.

In the U.S.’s semifinal win over France on the championships’ second day, Broadus and Crawley beat Marie Mattel and Alice Robbe 9-8. Broadus and Young defeated Mattel and Arthur Nagel 9-8 in mixed doubles. 

Broadus said playing with Young and Crawley was fun and added that she wished mixed doubles was an event in college tennis.

“Its something you never get to experience, so that makes it so much more entertaining,” she said. “The atmosphere is great.”

Broadus didn’t take the court in the U.S.’s championship win over Great Britain but was ready to swing her racket. 

“My teammates held it together and pulled it out,” Broadus said adding that the group wore “Tiger Woods red” to show they were set on winning. 

Patton has coached the U.S. to all of its Master‘U BNP Paribas Championships wins. Before this year’s iteration, he announced this would be his last time leading the team. Broadus said that added a bit of sentimentality to her and her teammate’s winning tennis. 

“Being able to perform the way we did and have so much fun was one of the things he wanted for us,” Broadus recalled of Patton. “To be able to hand him that trophy one last time before he hung up his hat was so special.” 

Broadus grew up playing tennis in Texas. Her mother Sheila Broadus played for TCU, and her older brother Grayson played for Notre Dame. The younger Broadus was a stellar youth tennis player. She won four ITF singles titles and six ITF doubles titles. She captured the 2019 Junior Wimbledon Doubles Championship and was the Eddie Herr Doubles Champion the same year. She played in the Junior French Open in 2019. 

In her years as a Wave, Broadus has snatched All-WCC singles and doubles team honors multiple times and a litany of conference Singles Player of the Week and Doubles Team of the Week honors. Broadus is a two-time ITA All-American and in 2022 was the ITA Southwest Region Rookie of the Year, the ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion and she and Janice Tjen were the ITA National Fall Doubles Championships titlists.

Broadus went 11-5 in singles during Pepperdine’s fall season. She and Tjen were the top-ranked doubles team in the nation before they were beaten in the ITA National Fall Championship semifinals. 

Broadus added that winning the championship in France was extra motivation for her to have a successful spring season for Pepperdine. Broadus said her Team USA teammates are “a second family” and she hopes to wear America’s colors again. 

“I could get asked to go back to France next year,” she said. “I will do everything in my power to be selected again, so I can have that experience one more time.”