Men's and women's tennis wrap up fall season
The Arizona men’s and women’s tennis teams will conclude their fall seasons this weekend. Men’s tennis traveled to the Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic in Sarasota, Fla., and women’s tennis flew out to Honolulu for the Weinman Foundation Invitational.
Today begins match play for the men’s team, in which seniors Fredrik Ask and Kieren Thompson will compete on a clay court in the only college tournament to do so in the U.S.
“It’s a clay court tournament so we’ve been working a little bit on some clay courts the past few days,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said.
In singles play, Thompson holds a record of 4-3 for the season.
“It’s a last fall tournament for all of us. Main thing with him [Thompson] is, he’s playing well right now. It’s just a matter of going out and just doing what he does best which is competing very hard. And when he does that, he can beat anybody,” said Berkowitz.
Ask has a 6-4 overall record in singles.
“With Fred [Ask], he’s got the ability to play with the best players in the country. It’s long days, if he keeps his focus and intensity, then he could do some good things,” said Berkowitz.
Thompson and Ask last competed as a doubles team in the ITA Southwest Regional Championships, resulting in an overall team record of 1-1.
Arizona, like most collegiate teams, doesn’t normally compete on a clay court.
“It’s a challenge but it’s a challenge in which everybody is in the same position,” Berkowitz said. “Playing on clay, you don’t see a lot of that in college tennis that’s for sure.”
Florida weather may also present an obstacle, but Berkowitz said he feels his players will benefit from the continued conditioning they put in during practice.
“We’ve been working extremely hard with our fitness. That’s one thing, coming to Florida where it’s a little bit warmer and more humid, all the work they’ve put in the gym is definitely going to be a benefit for them,” said Berkowitz.
The tournament is an opportunity to see how the Wildcats compare to some of the best teams in the nation, like the University of Florida and former national champions, University of Virginia.
Tournament play will conclude Sunday.
Today, match play also begins for women’s tennis. The Weinman Foundation Invitational, at the University of Hawaii, is the first time the entire team will travel together. Coach Vicky Maes says the tournament will give them a good feel for their strengths after three months of intensive training.
“We have spent a lot of time on the court this semester and doubles has been a big focus in the last few weeks,” Maes said.
The invitational will give the team the opportunity to play with different doubles teams, which will help prepare them for the spring.
“So far, [this year] tournament play has been very competitive and productive. This time, we get to see everybody at once and I’m looking forward to that,” Maes said.
The tournament will be played through Sunday.
— Follow Brittney Smith @BrittSmith14