Men's Tennis Progress Report
March 25, 2010
The No. 32 Arizona men’s tennis team is more than half way through their 2010 season and their Pac-10 season is kicking off this weekend. Head coach Tad Berkowitz gave his thoughts on the season up to this point and his expectations for the remainder of the season.
With the season more than half way through and the Pac-10s beginning what are your thoughts on the season so far?
“I think it’s been a challenging year for us with trying to overcome some injuries and then also dealing with the challenge of being more hunted exposed to being the hunter. It’s been a learning experience for all of us. I think now that we’re midway through the season we’ve learned how to handle ourselves in different situations a little bit better and I think we are playing a little bit more free, there’s not as much weight on our shoulders.”
With an 11-5 record, how satisfied are you with how the team is competing?
“I think we can always do better, absolutely. We have a lot of things we can improve upon, but I mean this, our guys compete as hard as anyone in the country and their will to win is as good as anybody’s. These guys want to win so bad for their team, which is great. Tennis-wise there are some things we definitely can improve upon. One thing is that we know for sure is that the guys always show up at game time.”
What are your expectations for the remaining of the season?
“Our ultimate goal is to make the NCAA tournament and to do the best we can in the regular season to try and position ourselves the best we can at the tournament. Ultimately, it would be nice to host the NCAA championships, which are the top 16 teams. That would be a nice thing for us, although, really what we are focusing on is trying to do the best we can each match so we can position ourselves to have a good opportunity come tournament time.”
How is the team preparing going into the conference?
“We just want to be as fresh as possible. We had a long trip, although I think it was a successful trip and the guys had a good experience. But right now we are just making sure we are fresh and healthy, physically and mentally, as best as we can going into our first Pac-10 match.”
What are your thoughts on how tough the conference is with all seven teams ranked in the ITA top 75?
“Pac-10 is always on top. I mean last year for example, USC won the National Championship, but they didn’t even win the conference. That’s the challenge that we welcome and that’s something that the guys love. They take pride in the fact that we are competing against the best teams.”
The team faces five of the seven Pac-10 matches at home. How crucial is that especially since you are 6-1 at the LaNelle Robson Center this year and last year you finished 14-1 at home?
“It’s great. I think any team we play in the country at home if we are healthy and playing well we have a chance to beat. These teams are tough and they are the top teams in the country for a reason. We welcome the challenge.”
What players have really stepped up this year?
“Ravid (Hazi) didn’t play the first how many matches and then we were trying to figure some things out and we put Ravid in the line-up and he’s been a huge reason for our recent success. He has stepped up in some big times for us the last couple of weeks, which has been great. I’m really proud of Arango for the changes he has made in his life and his commitment to the team is a huge reason for the success we have had this year. Carrasco, Arango and Zafiros have been just absolutely solid for us. Those three guys have been dealing with health, just little injuries here and there, and they have been playing with pain all season and they have been great.”
What are your thoughts on the Wildcats doubles play?
“We still have some things we have to try and figure out doubles wise. Essentially, we could do well in doubles. I think we have improved on our doubles from last year. But, we need to get our doubles going. I think for us to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish, the doubles flight is crucial and we need to figure out a way to get better at that and I believe we will.”
How important do you think the Blue/Gray Tennis Classic was in preparing the team for the remaining of the season?
“I think it was great. It challenged us to play three matches in a row, back-to-back-to back. We got a feel for playing some different teams. Some teams from all over the country. So we got a good taste of the level of competition from different conferences. It gave our guys that added bit of confidence knowing that we can beat some good teams. Oklahoma beat us and they played well against us, but we were close. We were there. Oklahoma is a team that would fit right in there as one of the tougher teams in the Pac-10 if they were in our conference. I think our guys at the end of that match kind of realized that no matter who we play, we will definitely give them a challenge. If we could just fine tune a couple of things it could get us over the hump.”
What are your thoughts on beginning Pac-10 action this weekend?
“Now the second half of our season begins. The Pac-10 without a doubt is the toughest conference in the country. We are there, we can hang with all these schools and I’m looking forward to the Pac-10 season. Every team is really strong this year and every team has improved since last year and so have we. We will be ready to go.”