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Hitting His Stride Early

Oct 7, 2013

Andy Ewing

UA Communication Services

Transferring tennis programs isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially as a sophomore. Freshmen year is, in a sense, repeated as the athlete in question again must find a way to quickly fit in and become familiar with a brand new system. Fortunately for the Arizona men’s tennis program, Trevor James hasn’t been your typical sophomore transfer.

James has already made an impact by winning the first tournament of his Wildcat career. In the championship match of the Aggie Invitational, James faced adversity early, as he dropped the first set to Nico Agritelley of Abilene Christian 6-7(4). He wasn’t about to concede defeat, however, and came back to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-3 to take home the championship.

“It was really good to win my first tournament, being the new guy and enabling myself to make a good impression,” James said. “I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

James hadn’t even had a full month to assimilate into head coach Tad Berkowitz’s regimen, and the win will undoubtedly accelerate his development even more.

“He’s fitting in great,” Berkowitz said. “He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s a good athlete and he comes in with a no-nonsense mindset. He takes care of business in practice, the weight room, and the classroom.”

It will still take time for the team’s only newcomer to adapt, but James appears to be a natural fit into the fibers of program. This partnership was something James struggled to find at the University of the Pacific, as he completed his freshman year with a combined fall-spring singles record of 4-9.

“It just didn’t seem like the right fit at Pacific,” James said. “Arizona is a nice place to be and we have a great program, so it was a no-brainer.”

While individually his progress has been profound, what ultimately may prove to be more important is the impression James has given the team.

“The rest of the guys believe in him,” Berkowitz said.  “He came in and proved himself right out of the gate. It’s great not only for him but for his teammates.”

This early belief can have big consequences in the spring, as James will look to garner a spot in the team’s rotation for the dual season.

As far as Berkowitz is concerned, James has just as good of a shot as anyone.

“The guys who work the hardest and have success in the fall are the ones who will likely compete in January,” Berkowitz said. “Last year’s lineup doesn’t matter to me. It’s a clean slate and everyone has to earn their spot. Trevor is beginning to earn his spot; he’s definitely proving himself. My eye is on him. I don’t bring in guys who I don’t think will have an opportunity to contribute.”

Despite the individualistic nature of competitive tennis, James is keeping his mind on the bigger picture and working to improve the team as much as he can, hopefully by working his way into the starting rotation.

“My main goal is to start most matches in singles and doubles,” James said. “I want the team to do well and make the tournament.  I want to do anything I can to help the team.”

James may prove to be well equipped to aid the team. He comes to Arizona with a full year of college tennis under his belt. He understands the team aspect of dual matches. He has experienced the rigors of the fall season, often playing multiple matches in a day. He’s been through conference matches, where every point has the potential to alter an entire season.

The sophomore knows his burden and the team is anxious to have him. He has already proven himself and if his tournament win manifests his potential in what is to come, the future of the Arizona men’s tennis program is in good hands.