WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Former UNCW standout Chris Cooprider, who powered the Seahawks to three NCAA Tournament appearances in his four seasons, is enjoying early success on the professional tennis circuit.

The Denver, Colo., native made his professional debut in Istanbul, Turkey, last week and went 1-1 in a qualifier. He received a wild card invitation into the main draw of this week’s ITF F25 Turkey Futures event and knocked off a Turkish opponent to pick up his first ATP point before upsetting top-seeded and 259th-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili of the Republic of Georgia in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, at the Tacspor Tennis Club.

The 22-year-old Cooprider, the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2013 CAA Men’s Tennis Championship, is slated to face former Georgia Tech star Dean O’Brien, ranked 691in the world, tomorrow in Istanbul.

“Being in a different country with a different culture has been very challenging,” Cooprider wrote via e-mail. “I really miss the college environment because I’m traveling and playing by myself now. I realize that I’ve been spoiled over the last four years with the closeness of the team.

“Everyone is trying to make it on the professional level, so playing professionally is tough. I just try to remember that I’m not only playing for myself, but everyone back home and all of the people who follow my progress.”

Veteran UNCW head coach Mait DuBois is not surprised by Cooprider’s outlook and continued development.

“Traditionally, it takes some time for players to transition from college tennis to life on the professional level. The fact that Chris is enjoying this kind of success so quickly is a testament to how well he prepared himself for this step.

“One of our major goals has always been to help players compete at the highest level and his success is something our entire team takes a lot of pride in. His best tennis is ahead of him we look forward to following Chris’ career.”