Quartet of juniors ready to lead Arizona tennis
Alex Kulpinski / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Andre Vidaller and the UA men’s tennis team play against Utah in April 2012.
The Arizona men’s tennis team struggled in the spring, winning five of 23 games, and zero in the Pac-12. But the Wildcats’ four returning juniors are working hard to move on from last season’s struggles.
Mario Urquidi, Giacomo Miccini, Andre Vidaller and Kieren Thompson add league and tournament experience to the lineup, both of which the team lacked last year.
“We had only freshmen and sophomores, we had no juniors on our lineup,” Tad Berkowitz said. “Of our sophomores, Mario was the only one who didn’t come in mid-semester. Even though Mario was just a sophomore, he had the most tennis experience on the team.”
During his freshman year, Urquidi wasn’t on the traveling roster until injuries arose, creating opportunities for him in the lineup.
“He locked up his spot at the bottom of the lineup as a freshman,” Berkowitz said. “Then last year as a sophomore he was thrown into the fire and played higher in the lineup, probably higher than he expected.”
Urquidi has been working out during the off-season, building up his strength and fitness with some of his teammates.
“I love working out with other teammates because you always push yourself.” Urquidi said. “Its really easy to cut reps when you work out alone.”
Thompson began his collegiate career with the Wildcats in January 2011, before the start of the regular season. In the spring, he competed in 15 matches and yielded a 7-8 singles record, with a 1-2 record in the Pac-12.
Miccini came to Arizona as a highly touted recruit, ranked in top 20 in the world among juniors, but he didn’t really live up to that potential in his first full year with just a 5-7 singles record, primarily playing in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots.
Vidaller also joined the team in January 2011, and has compiled an impressive record. Vidaller, a native of Santos, Brazil, earned an 11-10 singles record and competed in 20 dual matches. He also yielded a 3-3 record in Pac-12 conference play.
“We have a pretty good young team.” Vidaller said. “We have been working really hard since last year to improve.”
During the summer, Vidaller practiced hard in an effort to become one of Arizona’s biggest contributors.
“I’m way stronger mentally this year because we didn’t have the results I expected last year,” Vidaller said. “I was disappointed. Sometimes you have to learn to overcome it.”
Vidaller hopes that the team’s experiences from last year have brought it up to a level where it can compete for the Pac-12 title.
“This year, hopefully, I think a realistic goal would be top 30 in the nation,” Vidaller said. “Maybe even top 20.”