Men's Tennis Outlook
Jan. 14, 2003
In this case, three is not a crowd.
The 2002-03 Stanford men's tennis team will be led by a trio of senior All-Americans --- Ryan Haviland, Scott Lipsky and David Martin --- who will be the centerpieces in the Cardinal's hunt for an unprecedented 18th NCAA Team Championship.
'We are certainly led by the achievements of our seniors,' Stanford head coach Dick Gould and associate head coach John Whitlinger said. 'Only one of them (Martin) was a starter as a freshman, so we think the moral of the story is that if you continue to work hard you are going to improve. They have proven that they can beat any player on any given day. Obviously, consistency will be a factor, but would not trade any of those three players for any players in the country.'
Haviland and Martin both reached the semifinals of the 2002 NCAA Singles Championship, while Lipsky and Martin reached the final of the NCAA Doubles Championship. All three players have been ranked in the top 40 in the nation in singles during their careers, while Lipsky and Martin have spent most of the last two-plus seasons in the top five in doubles.
Equally impressive is the strong group of underclassmen who will take the court for the Cardinal this spring.
Redshirt junior Carter Morris and sophomore Sam Warburg have both been nationally-ranked in singles during their collegiate careers, sophomore Phil Sheng was a starter throughout the 2002 season and freshmen KC Corkery and James Pade are expected to make an immediate impact in 2003. Throw into the mix junior Joe Kao and freshman Jon Wong, and the Cardinal is one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country.
'Our depth and talent is proven, and is outstanding. If we can stay healthy, our strength from the top to the bottom of the lineup will certainly make us a contender for the national championship.'
However, the road to NCAA and Pac-10 Championships will again be a difficult one. Pac-10 rivals California, UCLA, USC and Washington will be in the hunt, as will national powers Baylor and Illinois, among others.
'It's going to a great year for college tennis and very minor things are going to determine who wins the national championship.'
Here is a player-by-player look at the 2002-03 Cardinal:
Senior David Martin (Tulsa, OK/Boca Raton Prep) has emerged as one of the top singles players in the nation by virtue of his performance last season and this fall. Martin, who enters 2003 with a career singles record of 99-38, advanced to the NCAA Singles Semifinals last year, and knocked off three of the top 30 players in the country in that tournament (#3, #13, #29) en route to ITA All-American honors in singles (he is also a two-time All-American in doubles). Martin went 33-9 overall and 23-4 in duals, but even more impressively, went 13-6 against nationally-ranked opponents and 16-5 against Pac-10 competition to finish the season ranked 17th in the country. He followed up last year's performance by going 11-3 in the fall. Martin, who was ranked 15th in the nation after the fall season, captured the consolation singles title of the ITA All-American Championship in October by winning five matches in three days without losing a set.
'David Martin gets the absolute maximum out of his game in both singles and doubles. He is a very fine athlete who always gives his best in practice and in play, and was rightfully elected captain by his teammates this season. He can beat anyone in college tennis on any given day, which was well proven last year. He will continue on to the pro tour upon leaving Stanford, as will Ryan Haviland and Scott Lipsky.'
Ryan Haviland (Aiken, SC/Sumter HS) had a breakout campaign in 2002 as he earned ITA All-American honors after advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship. Haviland, who finished the season 30-11 and ranked 32nd in the country, beat three of the top 25 players in the nation (#8, #21, #24) to advance deep into the NCAA Championship. He was a consistent force for the Cardinal all season long, and amassed an impressive 16-6 dual record to improve his career dual mark to 34-11 (58-21 overall). Haviland took off the fall quarter to play professionally and his return in January will bolster the Cardinal's chances for a NCAA Team Championship.
'Ryan is a threat to win a national championship. He was slowed by an injury last year. His health and continued improvement are keys to our team's success. Ryan is a serve and volley and attacking style player who has learned to play with a little more feel for the point from the backcourt. Because he was ahead in his studies, he was able to take the fall quarter off and play at the professional level.'
In addition to being one of the top doubles players in the country, senior Scott Lipsky (Merrick, NY/Bellmore-Kennedy HS) has also made a name for himself in singles. He qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship for the first time last season, and reached the second round before losing to the eventual runner-up in a hard-fought match. Lipsky, who is ranked 46th in the nation, finished last year 31-13 overall (19-6 in duals) and won his first career singles title at the Omni Hotels Regional Championship. He enters 2003 with an impressive career record of 70-26, including a 39-13 dual mark.
'Scott Lipsky is right on the verge of taking off and becoming one of the world's top players in his age group. He has a tremendous serve with a lot of variation, and he has learned to use that to his advantage. He has incorporated a lot more attack into his basic game on serve, on return and off the ground. When he gets a little more confidence in using the style of play his game has evolved into, he could be virtually unbeatable.'
Stanford will also be bolstered by the return of Carter Morris (Washington, D.C./St. Alban's HS), who was forced to redshirt the 2002 season because of a severe case of mononucleosis. Morris won all seven of his dual matches in his first two seasons, and was 17-6 overall, but was limited to just four fall matches last season (3-1). He went 4-3 this fall, and advanced to the fourth round of the Omni Hotels Regional Championship and the consolation semifinals of the Racquet Club Invitational.
'We really welcome the return of Carter Morris. He was projected to be a starter last season until illness cut his year short. Carter is an attacking player who will come at you all the time and make you beat him, which is not an easy thing to do. He is a serve and volley player, and will be a tough match-up for whomever has to play him at any time.'
Junior Joe Kao (Fullerton, CA/Sunny Hills HS) saw limited action in 2001 (1-3 overall record), but showed major improvement as a sophomore, and was inserted into the starting lineup at the end of the season. He recorded an impressive dual victory against Pepperdine in the No. 4 slot, and was victorious at No. 6 in the first round of the NCAA Championship vs. Sacramento State to finish the campaign with an 8-10 overall mark.
'Joe Kao received the opportunity to play last year after a couple of our starters were injured. He performed very well when called upon, and has earned serious consideration as a starter this year. Joe's strengths are his forehand and his quickness.'
Sophomore Sam Warburg (Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS), who is ranked 52nd in the country, is a rising star for the Cardinal, as evidenced by his 7-1 record this fall and 27-10 singles mark as a freshman. He captured his first collegiate singles title --- The Racquet Club Invitational in Midland, Texas, in October --- by recording five wins, including two over ranked opponents (#46, #70), in three days. He was also one of the Cardinal's most consistent performers a year ago, winning 20 of his 24 dual matches and posting an 11-5 record against Pac-10 competition.
'Sam is one of the great competitors in college tennis,' Gould and Whitlinger said. 'Any coach in the nation would want Sam on his team. He played hurt for most of last year and yet compiled one of the best individual single season dual records in school history. He is strong, has a great backhand and can attack from any position on the court.'
Sophomore Phil Sheng (Thousand Oaks, CA/Thousand Oaks HS) was in the starting lineup as a freshman, and went 15-16 overall and 11-12 in duals against top competition. He went 9-9 against Pac-10 opponents, and posted a pair of upsets over nationally-ranked opponents. He split his two matches in the fall, and is expected to compete for a starting spot in 2003.
'Phil worked hard last year to try to find an identity to his game. He has proven he can beat just about anyone on any given day. His challenge is finding consistency and continuing to learn to build his points in order to balance his ability. He is a great athlete with the potential to be a great college player.'
Freshman KC Corkery (Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS), who is already ranked 50th in the nation, comes to The Farm after spending last year on the professional tour. Corkery went 8-3 in the fall, with four of those victories coming over nationally-ranked opponents. He advanced through the qualifying bracket of the ITA All-American with a pair of victories, and after a first round main draw loss, knocked off three ranked opponents (#40, #56, #92) in two days to reach the consolation semifinals.
'KC Corkery is one of the top players in the world in his age group. He has tremendous hands and builds his points well. He is the epitome of an all-court player because he can serve and volley, attack from the ground, and has a great feel for how to play points. KC is a threat to win an NCAA Championship at some point in his career.'
Freshman James Pade, who is from nearby Woodside, California and The Menlo School, is coming off a banner year in 2002. He won the National Clay Court Championships (18's) in both singles and doubles, and is expected to make an immediate impact on the Stanford singles ladder.
'James Pade reminds us tremendously of Jared Palmer,' said Gould and Whitlinger. Palmer was a standout on The Farm in the 1990's, and has enjoyed an outstanding pro career that was highlighted by reaching the No. 1 ranking in doubles in 2000 and 2002. 'He has great hands and is extremely well coached. James had solid success as a junior player, and I think that he has much more potential as a college player and beyond. He has a great doubles sense, and is a player who has a chance to win a national championship down the road.'
The third freshman on the roster is Jon Wong, who is also a local product from Los Altos Hills, California and Los Altos High School. Wong split his two matches in the fall, and will contend for a starting spot in the future.
'Jon was the most improved player on our team in the fall,' Gould and Whitlinger said. 'He is a good all-around player with solid fundamentals. He will probably not start this year, but if he continues to improve the way he has, he is definitely a candidate to start in the future.'
Lipsky and Martin, who advanced to the NCAA Doubles Final last year and the NCAA Doubles Semifinals in 2001, have compiled a 79-18 overall record (37-9 in duals) together over the last three seasons. The duo, which is ranked third in the nation, won seven of their nine matches in the fall and advanced to the final of the ITA All-American Championship and semifinals of the Omni National Indoor Championships.
'Doubles will certainly be a strength of ours this season,' Gould and Whitlinger said. 'It will be hard for any team in the country to match the talent and depth of our doubles combinations, no matter what they turn out to be.'
Haviland and Warburg played together over the final month of the 2002 regular season, and won three of their four matches at the No. 2 slot. Haviland also teamed with senior K.J. Hippensteel for most of last season, and the duo finished the season ranked 30th in the nation after winning 21 of 24 matches. Warburg, meanwhile, played with Phil Sheng for the majority of 2002, and the freshman pair went 15-10.
Corkery and Pade made an immediate impact this fall, and jumped all the way to ninth in the national rankings by winning seven of their nine fall matches. The Cardinal freshmen won the Omni Hotels Regional Doubles Championship in October, with two of those five wins coming over opponents ranked in the top 35 in the nation. They also reached the consolation semifinals of the Omni National Indoor Championship before losing in a tiebreaker to the fourth-ranked team in the country.
Morris and Sheng are also in the mix for time on the doubles ladder. Morris played with Warburg in the fall, and they advanced to the final of the Omni Hotels Regional Championship en route to a 4-2 record and a national ranking of 57th. Sheng teamed with freshman Jon Wong to post a 1-1 record and reach the third round of the Omni Regional.
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