Letting His Game Do the Talking
With the sun peeking through on a cloudy 64-degree February day in Coral Gables, the Hurricanes men’s team filled courts one, two, three and four for practice. Junior Adria Soriano Barrera stood on court one with his white Adidas hat on, facing off against teammate Benjamin Hannestad. An age-old saying of “iron sharpens iron,” stands true as the two Canes try to better each other’s skills one-on-one. Hannestad, one of the more outspoken players on the court yells and is fired up after winning a point as Soriano Barrera lets his game do the talking.
“He’s definitely not shy, he’s opinionated. He’s not a comedian, but he’s a debater. He likes to debate others and prove or bring his points to light why he is right and why his opinion is correct,” Miami head coach Aljosa Piric said.
What makes Soriano Barrera so talented is his size, combined with his athletic ability and power as a tennis player.
“Adri is an extremely talented kid, his ceiling is extremely high and his tennis skills are second to none,” assistant coach Beck Pennington said. At 6-foot, 2-inches and 160 pounds, Soriano Barrera’s overpowering serve engulfs his opponents. “He’s extremely athletic, you don’t find athletes like that every day, when you have a big serve and you’re a good athlete, in tennis you can go a long way,” Pennington said.
For Soriano Barrera, tennis has been with him the longest, but growing up he wasn’t always sure which sport he enjoyed the most. “When they gave me my first racket, I was like three or four years old. My neighbors had a tennis racket they didn’t want to use anymore so they gave it to me. That same summer I started playing tennis for the first time,” Soriano Barrera said.
Soriano Barrera was engaged in many different sports including swimming, soccer, golf, and hockey before finally sticking with tennis at age 12.
Growing up in Barcelona, Spain, Soriano Barrera had to adjust to a very different culture in Miami. “It was different culturally, I feel like it’s a change where you need to adapt to things fast whether that’s competing or studying in English,” Soriano Barrera said. “Now I am used to it and I feel pretty comfortable.”
When looking at potential colleges Soriano Barrera had only two places in mind, schools in Florida or California. “I always wanted to go to Florida or California, I like good weather.
When I got the offer from Miami, I felt that it was the closest city to home,” Soriano Barrera said.
Before his matches he makes sure that all of his rackets are on point, his grips are the way he wants them to be and then locks in for his match with one hour to go. “I try to focus one hour before, listening to music and doing specific warmups. I try to do that routine every time, I really go with techno, EDM, underground stuff, progressive house,” Soriano Barrera said.
Soriano Barrera’s biggest hobby is creating music outside of playing tennis. “I love music; I am very passionate about it. I produce music and I DJ.”
Soriano Barrera’s favorite food is the Chuleton, a big steak, a dish well known in Spain. When back home Soriano Barrera enjoys traveling to Pais Vasco, a small city in the north part of Spain known mostly for their food and where he gets the Chuleton.
For Soriano Barrera, he enjoys having success on the court but also appreciates the support his family gives him and how much they appreciate watching him play.
“It was one of my first futures tournaments and I never had the opportunity to compete at that level. When I saw my dad enjoying my tennis, like really enjoying it, it was shocking for me and it made me so happy to see my dad enjoying something I was doing,” Soriano Barrera said.
With hopes of playing tennis professionally, Soriano Barrera takes every chance possible to learn from the big three; Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. “Tennis has been my life. I love sports, I think that I need to do some sport always and tennis has been a part of my life consistently every day for the past eight years.” Soriano Barrera said. “If you take that away from me, you take half of my life.”
Soriano Barrera has developed a very special relationship with two fellow teammates Pablo Aycart Joya and Tatsuki Shimamoto since coming to Coral Gables. Soriano Barrera has lived with Aycart Joya and Shimamoto since freshman year and has instilled friendly competitions during practice. Soriano Barrera enjoys practicing against his roommate Shimamoto the most. “Against Tatsuki, Tatsuki Shimamoto, my roommate, we have a big fight with each other [every time we are out on the courts competing],” Soriano Barrera said.
“He loves to do Rubik’s cubes and that kind of explains what kind of person he is, for an average person it’s very complicated,” Piric said when asked how he could describe the junior in a single word. “Off the court, he is very analytical, he likes to think things through and understand why he is doing something.
“He brings a little bit of that on the court, he believes in a certain way of doing things and the way he needs to play, which makes him as good as he is.”