Jason Jung endured a stretch of almost two months where he didn’t win a singles match.
During that span, the sophomore and the Michigan men’s tennis team lost confidence while dropping a lot of 4-3 matches: six, to be exact.
The wheels were beginning to fall off the bus.
But after the 49th-ranked Wolverines defeated Purdue with a decisive 6-1 victory yesterday, Michigan coach Bruce Berque is starting to see the team he thought he would at the beginning of the season.
“A couple guys at the top of our lineup were playing bad tennis and they had lost much of their confidence,” Berque said.
Jung is one of those players.
After clinching the Wolverines’ victory against Northwestern two weeks ago, the Torrance, Calif., native has rattled off three consecutive singles wins to pull his team into the middle of the cluttered Big Ten rankings.
“That slump — it was probably mental mostly,” Jung said. “I’ve been more consistent and been able to pick myself up when I’ve been down in a match.”
Many Wolverine players, Jung included, have a renewed sense of self-assurance after picking up some wins in the past few weeks. Berque said he thinks that might have been what the team needed to finally get going in the right direction.
Michigan’s win over Purdue at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette was its fourth in five matches.
The Wolverines had to battle swirling winds and chilly 50-degree temperatures against the Boilermakers (1-7 Big Ten, 7-13 overall). Despite the conditions, Michigan won five of six singles matches and clinched the doubles point for the second straight match.
“It was tough to get a good read on some balls,” sophomore Chris Madden said. “A ball you thought was totally off could come back in because of the wind.”
Madden, like Jung, defeated the weather and continued his hot streak in singles, winning his eighth straight match at the No. 4 position (6-2, 6-3).
Berque needs Jung and Madden to lead the Wolverines (4-4, 10-13), as they play their final conference matches against Indiana and Illinois before heading into the Big Ten Championships.
“I feel we’re playing a lot better with everyone on the court playing up to their level,” Berque said. “But we’re going to need to bump up the level of play even higher and show even more hunger as we head into these last few matches.”