Mulling Things Over

Sept. 29, 2006

Courtesy of The Stanford Daily

September 28, 2006
By Carling Nguyen
The Daily kicks off the new school year with a continuation of last year's 'Through My Eyes' series. In this issue, The Daily joins sophomore Blake Muller, a returning starter on the men's tennis team, receiving some insight about the upcoming year and the dynamic of this year's squad.

Muller, a native of Santa Barbara, Calif. and freshman Richard Wire will be traveling to the University of Tulsa next week to compete in the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships. Play for the qualifying rounds begins on Monday.

Now and Then

It's different coming in this year. Coming in as a freshman, you're unsure -- you're not too sure what to expect. You don't know how good the players are. But coming in now, I expect a little bit more out of myself, and I just want to continue to improve.

This summer, I took about two to three weeks off after NCAAs to let my body heal since the season is really long. After that, I started practicing and working out a lot to try and stay in shape. I just wanted to try to improve as much as I possibly could over the summer.

Fresh Faces

I've hit with [the three new freshman players], and they're all good. They love tennis and have all been out there every day. It's just what we need since we lost KC [Corkery] and Jon [Wong].

Richard [Wire] and I are playing [doubles] in the qualifying [rounds of the All-American]. He's a lefty who serves well, hits the ball really well and has a good forehand, so hopefully we can do some damage.

Kevin [Kaiser] is from Northern California, but I never played him in juniors. I knew him on a name basis, but not too much outside of that. I've hit with Paul [Morrissey] a bit over the last two days, and he serves well.

All three [of the freshmen] are really tall so I'm not the tallest guy on the team anymore [Muller is 6'2'] And the team's a little different this year because we've got two foreigners. It's new, especially for Stanford. It's fun trying to figure out what they're trying to say.

All-American

Obviously my goal is to get through qualifying and to do well in the main draw. These preseason tournaments are important, but it's more just getting prepared and getting better every day. Hopefully this tournament will help me get back into the swing of things. It's a big tournament, but really what matters are the dual matches during the season. As long as I get prepared for that, the tournament is a good way to start.

A Different Dynamic

I feel like [the team's] a little younger this year. We had a lot of freshmen last year and we have a few this year, but we also have James Wan and James Pade coming back who are older.

We have a little more youth -- some might say inexperience -- but I think it's another chance to create our own identity as a team. The last few years, we haven't won [a championship], so hopefully we can get back to the way it was in the `90s.

A New Year

Last year, we lost KC [Corkery] who was our captain, our senior leader and one of the best players in the country. So it's going to be a test to see who steps up, gives everyone a chance to play and gives everyone a chance to get better. We'll see who can fill his shoes and come in and play.

It was a rough ending last year with the team losing to Baylor [in the quarterfinals at the San Francisco Tennis Center], especially for me being the last match on the court. But it's all about character and how you come back.

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