If Michigan senior Jason Jung wants to break the Michigan men’s tennis record for career doubles wins, he will have to win six more matches. Currently, he and the Wolverines have five remaining.
Yes, the postseason chances are there in the Big Ten Tournament and at the NCAA’s. But if Jung wants to hold the record for his own, he will need to win a majority of his next five.
Entering the 2011 season, Jung was in a three-way tie for eighth place with 69 wins. He was the only one of the top-eight players actively playing, leaving Jung poised to improve his win total.
As the non-conference season was underway, Jung wasn’t passing anybody. He was 11 wins away from seventh and 21 away from first. But as the season progressed, he started to move up in the record books.
Jung passed two-time All-American and Michigan tennis great Michael Leach at 80 wins, before tying former teammate Andrew Mazlin at 83 wins two weeks ago.
With 83 wins, Jung entered the weekend one win behind a pair of former Wolverines tied for fourth all-time. One was Jung’s former partner, George Navas. The other, Eric Freidler, was another one of the program’s 21 All-Americans.
With partner Evan King, Jung won both doubles matches he had this weekend against Wisconsin and Minnesota, propelling him into lone position in fourth place.
“I think it’s definitely something to feel good about,” Jung said Monday. “Fourth all-time is pretty good and we have a couple more matches, so I have an opportunity to move high on the list.”
The opportunity to gain ground on No. 1 will start this weekend against Penn State on Friday. But Jung claims he isn’t focused on getting the record.
At least, not yet.
While the Penn State No. 1 doubles team doesn’t boast a high ranking, Jung insists on being prepared for a fight.
“We do play Penn State first, which is a match we have to take care of first because they always have played us tough,” Jung said.
On Sunday, Jung and company will face off against No. 3 Ohio State, a team that has lost only one dual match all season and that Michigan hasn’t beaten in ten seasons. The Buckeyes also boast the ninth-ranked doubles team in the country at their No. 1 doubles spot. If Jung wants to cut down on the five-win gap separating him from a tie for first all-time, he and King will have to play their best tennis.
“I think yesterday’s doubles match was one of the better doubles matches I have ever played, but overall this year I don’t think I am quite as satisfied, in terms of how I have played before,” Jung said. “There is still some time left, and I think yesterday was a good start.”
Five more matches, one guaranteed Big Ten Tournament match with the potential for more and possible NCAA Tournament matches are all that remains for Jung to reach and pass the 90-win plateau.
A doubles player has never accomplished that feat in Michigan tennis history. Three doubles players, all of whom played in the last decade, are knotted at that number.
If Jung wants to cement his name in Michigan tennis history, the captain will need to play stellar tennis in the remaining matches, all starting with this weekend.
“I think it’s definitely possible,” Jung said. “I think it’s a must win for Evan and I, and that’s the mindset we should go into this weekend.”