Michigan men’s tennis coach Adam Steinberg regularly stresses that winning the doubles point is crucial for the Wolverines’ success. This weekend, in the Big Ten/Ivy Challenge at New York City’s own USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the team did so in exceptional fashion.
Michigan’s strong doubles play Friday night, winning the point at the No. 1 and the No. 3 spots, continued Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines won the point again in a very similar fashion. Opening both matches with a doubles win was a catalyst for the team’s success in singles, as it immediately gave them leverage and momentum.
“We became a team this weekend,” Steinberg said.
After a tough loss at Kentucky last weekend, Steinberg and his entire team went to work, staying poised and opening the weekend with a 7-0 shutout against Princeton.
Notable moments from the Princeton match included junior transfer Jathan Malik defeating his opponent to clinch the victory against Princeton while also securing his first victory as a Wolverine. Despite a disappointing singles loss the following day against Cornell, Malik’s Michigan debut was a memorable one.
Though the victory was already secure, redshirt sophomore Davis Crocker had a significant win as well, defeating Princeton’s Alex Day, a top-100 singles player in the nation.
Michigan’s success continued against Cornell. The Wolverines won the doubles point again and went on to win convincingly, defeating the Big Red 4-1.
Michigan established its dominance early on. Redshirt sophomore Alex Knight followed the doubles point with a victory in straight sets, part of an undefeated weekend, in which he found success in both his singles and doubles games.
“I trusted my tennis and played my game,” Knight said.
Much like Knight, the entire Michigan team played at a high level this weekend and is expecting to enter its three matches this upcoming week full of confidence.