Just days after the loss of former UNLV tennis player Mehdi Bouras, those close to him are still coming to terms with the reality of the situation.
News of the sudden death of Bouras came early Friday evening. He is said to have fallen ill earlier in the week from a form of meningitis.
"It was very sudden. He was healthy on Wednesday. He had been speaking to people and suddenly, wham," said UNLV student Alex Bull.
Bull, a former tennis player himself, grew close to Bouras over the past few years, calling him one of his best friends. The two played together at UNLV for three years. Bull recalls Bouras as one of the people who impacted his life and tennis career the most.
"His life was tennis," said Bull. "He was the first one on the court, last one off the court."
Owen Hambrook, head men's tennis coach, can also attest to the presence Bouras brought to the team.
"Everyone, everyone he met, everyone loved the guy," Hambrook said. "They looked up to him. They fed off his energy. They respected him on and off the court."
Bouras moved from France in 2008 to join the tennis program at UNLV. Hambrook says the two instantly became family, making the news of his death more difficult to hear.
"It was devastating. I loved him so much," Hambrook said.
Over the course of his career as a Rebel, Bouras earned a number of achievements as a player, including the 2011 Mountain West Men's Tennis Player of the Year. The university also notes Bouras was the first Rebel to play in the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments in more than 10 years.
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