Arizona men's tennis ends season on disappointing note
Arizona men's tennis player Sumeet Shinde receives a plaque during the senior day ceremony and Arizona's 4-1 loss to Washington at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center on April 12. The Wildcats placed just one player in the NCAA tournament.
Arizona men’s tennis season has come to a close with hopes of one of the players making it as an individual to the NCAA Individual Championships.
Junior Naoki Takeda, who is ranked No. 62, is awaiting his fate. He took down Dominik Koepfer in February, who was the No. 5-ranked tennis player in the nation, but Takeda said he’s not trying to over think whether he will make the tournament or not.
“It would be good for me and the team if I’m not selected, but I’m not over thinking about it,” Takeda said. “If I’m selected, I’ll just keep training hard and be ready for the tournament.”
Takeda said he’s mostly disappointed the team didn’t make the tournament. He also said he would be more than happy to make the individual selection, but if he could trade it for the whole team to make the tournament, he would definitely do that.
Takeda’s swinging arm was hurt for a good chunk of the season, and he was forced to sit out a couple matches.
“I’m not fully satisfied even though I beat the [No. 5 guy] and beat a couple ranked guys, because I couldn’t contribute to the team in the middle of the season by arm injury,” Takeda said. “Also, we couldn’t make the tournament as a team, so we cannot be satisfied.”
The team ended the season with a record of 8-19 and 0-7 in the Pac-12 Conference, which put it in last place. All teams in the Pac-12 make it to the Pac-12 Championships, but the Wildcats didn’t make it far, as they lost in the first round to Oregon, 4-1.
The Wildcats went through heartbreaking losses and great wins during the season, but it didn’t prove to be enough.
Senior Sumeet Shinde, who is from India and was once one of the top-70 players in the world, could not finish out the end of the season due to personal problems; however, he had an outstanding final season, as he held his ground on courts one and two for the Wildcats.
Shinde has been ranked as high as No. 74 in the ITA single’s rankings earlier this year. Shinde racked in eight victories this season, including four from the No. 1 spot.
Arizona coach Tad Berkowitz said Shinde is a great player when he is on his game. The other graduating senior, Robin Chou, had a record of 4-4 overall and went 2-2 in dual play during the spring.
Chou wanted to come to Arizona because he wanted to play under Berkowitz and compete in the Pac-12. Chou and Shinde both came to the UA together and have developed a relationship based on competition and support. Chou also said he enjoyed watching Shinde play because of how great of a player he is.
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