For Chris Kearney, break point will always hold a deeper meaning than the one linked to the context of tennis.
UC Irvine men's tennis coach Trevor Kronemann said Monday that Kearney, a junior transfer from North Carolina, has the potential to legitimately contend for an NCAA singles title.
But tennis is the least of what the 22-year-old has had to contend with since one fateful night in the fall of 2008.
Kearney, then 20, was days away from beginning his third year at UNC, for which he had earned All-American honors as a sophomore. Kearney and then-junior Taylor Fogleman who advanced to the NCAA doubles quarterfinals the previous spring, were expected to be the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the nation.
But after returning home from drinking with friends near the Chapel Hill campus on Aug. 17, 2008, Kearney made a decision that would lead to regret, remorse and, ultimately, to prison.