Club tennis set to close season at USTA national tournament, gearing up for USTA campus championship
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 08:02
While some winter varsity teams have been having impressive championship seasons over the last few weeks, the men’s club tennis squad has quietly been making noise of its own. The team has already made its mark amongst New England competitors, and is now preparing to send 10 members to participate in April’s annual United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis On Campus National Championship in Surprise, Ariz.
Co−captained this year by juniors Joshua Fishbein and Kenny Westerman, the previously 20−player team saw 120 hopefuls try out.
“While we wish everyone interested could be part of the team, we were forced this year to cut down the size since the numbers have grown so large,” Fishbein said.
Although the captains capped the team at 35 members, even fewer have attended the matches, making practice time critical for the team to bond and develop a rhythm with one another. The Jumbos practice twice a week in the fall and have hitting sessions in the winter and spring seasons.
“We definitely make the most of our time in practice, but they are still very informal and fun,” freshman Mac Johnson said. “Fishbein and Kenny give me lots of personal advice, and certainly look good doing it.”
According to the captains, the club team relishes its ability to grow close with both teammates and opponents.
“The experience can be very competitive when we actually play a match, but it’s awesome that you can have a great time and hang out with people on other teams, too,” Westerman said. “You don’t necessarily get that in a varsity environment.”
Notably, the team doesn’t get to host many home tournaments, making each event its own experience in which the Tufts team members can bond with each other.
“What I enjoy most about this team is going to the matches,” Fishbein said. “Since we don’t hold a lot of events at Tufts, it’s fun to be with everyone in the car for a few hours and meet a bunch of new people that way. It ends up being a tight, fairly small crew.”
With the 2012−2013 season ending, the Jumbos will start focusing on the national tournament, despite not being able to hold official team practices in preparation. According to the USTA, the teams will play “Round Robin” or “Pool Play” and then advance into bracket play.
Though Tufts comes in as an underdog because numerous Div. I schools will be in attendance, the Jumbos are confident they can hold their own in such a competitive event.
“Though we’d love to have a few more practices, we do what we can,” Westerman said. “It’s going to be a great experience, and with the balance of competitiveness and friendliness, we’ll really get to meet people from all over the nation.”
“Regardless of the result, I’m definitely looking forward to the team bonding aspect of the trip, stretching over four or five days,” Fishbein added. “The tournament will feature a much higher level of competition, and it’ll be a lot of fun to play a bunch of Division I state schools.”