After coming off a sophomore season where he was named the team’s most improved player, junior Chris Madden made a deep run to the championship finals of the Big Ten Individual men’s tennis tournament held Oct. 30- Nov. 2. He won his first four matches in straight sets with ease, and his play improved with every match. Then, in a match against Indiana’s Santiago Gruter, he found himself down 5-1 in the second set tiebreaker after already dropping the first 2-6.
“I waited for my opportunity,” Madden said. “I swung out, and when I got a chance, I took it.”
Though Madden went on to lose in the final, his play never lacked excitement. Madden hit four winners in what was left in the breaker, then found his game and won eight out of the next 11 games to complete the come-from-behind win.
Madden went on to play Indiana’s Josh MacTaggart in the finals. He played well, taking the first set, but eventually fell as MacTaggart’s play increased and Madden’s energy waned in his sixth set of the day.
Madden’s performance was one of many vital Michigan victories during the five-day tournament.
The Wolverines looked strong, going 5-3 through Friday’s doubles and Saturday’s singles rounds. Madden and senior Mike Sroczynski won three out of their four matches in the first flight of doubles, while freshman Chris Cha teamed with sophomore Duncan Muil to win two matches in the second. Cha and Sroczynski also looked impressive in singles, winning five combined matches.
“It was good to see where our guys were at individually,” Michigan associate head coach Sean Maymi said. “It was also good to see us get some wins under our belt, result-wise.”
Muil made his collegiate debut in the tournament, and went 2-2 in doubles before being eliminated in singles. But Maymi said the matches gave Muil more confidence and experience heading into the start of next year.
“We’re trying to get him as many matches as possible,” Maymi said. “It was good to have him out there playing matches.”
“It felt really good to get… a winning record because these are the kinds of players I will be playing against,” Madden said.