Growing up, some athletes have big aspirations. For 22-year-old Clifford Malivert this is no exception. A native of Miami, Malivert is shaking things up on the Florida A&M tennis team and is ready to face new challenges. A hardworking athlete, Malivert said he always knew he would play tennis one day. It is a sport that he deeply enjoys.
“I started playing tennis around the age of 6,” said Malivert, a senior criminal justice student. “It was something that I really like to do. Everybody else was doing basketball and football so I thought I’d try something different.”
Malivert, who has been playing tennis for FAMU since the fall of 2004, said the inspiration throughout his life have been his parents. He also said he looks up to former FAMU tennis player Robert Beatelus. It was because of this inspiration that Malivert has gone from an ordinary athlete to an exceptional competitor.
And his skills haven’t gone unnoticed.
Pfungwa Mahefe, the assistant tennis coach, said Malivert was a hard worker.
“He’s a great team leader,” Mahefe said. “He’s one of the special guys that we have on the team.”
Mahefe also said he sees a complete turn around from when Malivert first stepped onto the court as a freshman.
“He has confidence and swagger now,” Mahefe said.
Many players on the team look up to Malivert and respect his game. Among those players is Forrest Jenkins, 19, who said Malivert is undoubtedly a leader.
“He definitely leads by example,” said Jenkins, a sophomore accounting student from Houston. “He really cares about the team and our success.”
Jenkins said Malivert is a fantastic player who loves to have fun during the game.
In Miami, Malivert would improve his tennis skills at two local parks, Charles Hadley Park and Moore Park. Malivert said that was where most of his competitions were when he was growing up. As a result, he said he feels like a great player.
“I feel that I have matured in tennis,” Malivert said. “As I grew up I learned how to handle situations better on the court.”
Malivert said he feels his strength is his ability to win. His goal for this season is to win to the MEAC championship.
“I want to get that championship ring before I graduate, and I want FAMU men’s tennis to rank in the NCAA,” he said.
Malivert had an opportunity to put his skills to the test in a recent tennis match against Nicholls State University. He was able to lead his team to a victory.
“It was a big game for me,” Malivert said. “I was proud to take the win for the team.”
The tennis player also won all three sets in that match and clinched the last, winning one for the Rattlers. Malivert said he was poised throughout the game and stayed focused on the match. An athlete at heart, the tennis player plans to go pro after he receives his degree. Until then, he’ll be found on the tennis courts of FAMU enhancing his dexterity.
“With God on my side,” Malivert said, “anything is possible.”
The next tennis match will be Feb. 29 at Clemson.