The Michigan men’s tennis team made its way to South Bend, Ind., on Thursday to compete in the ITA Midwest Regional Championships. And while the Wolverines ended their run on Sunday, failing to make it past the quarterfinals, Michigan coach Adam Steinberg saw his team play some of its best tennis since he took over the program in June 2014.
It was the first full team event of the fall, with six Michigan players in the singles main draw.
“There were some good moments,” Steinberg said, “and then some moments in singles that I feel we really have to work on. I was really happy with the freshmen — I thought they competed great.”
Sophomore Carter Lin fell to No. 2 seed Chris Diaz of Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the singles main draw after playing very competitive matches in the earlier rounds. He was the highlight of the Wolverines’ singles competition, but it was the doubles efforts that really stood out in Steinberg’s mind.
“The best moment I’ve had in coaching here at Michigan was the other night … when (the) doubles teams were playing on the courts at Notre Dame,” Steinberg said. “It was awesome. They were pushing each other, playing with amazing energy. That’s what we do in practice every day, and we took it to the tournament, so I was really pleased with the doubles overall.”
The two teams — redshirt sophomore Alex Knight with sophomore Runhao Hua and junior Kevin Wong with freshman Gabe Tishman — each made it to the quarterfinals before falling to the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively.
Despite not making it to the final day of competition, Steinberg was happy with his doubles teams’ level of competition.
“I thought it was the best I’ve ever seen us play doubles since I’ve been here,” Steinberg said. “We competed really well. Even the matches we lost, we played great — it didn’t feel like we even lost them because of how well we played, competed, and our attitude.”
In the fall tennis season there are no team results, because all athletes compete as individuals or in pairs. It’s an opportune time for players to fine-tune their skills and perfect their game.
“Our doubles has really improved, but as singles players I think everyone needs to really commit to their game styles, so by the end of the fall that’s set in stone,” Steinberg said. “It’s not there yet, but it’s definitely getting better. Way better.”