Instead of wiping the slate clean like both of Michigan’s basketball squads, the men’s tennis team has decided not to change a single thing in the wake of a
three match losing streak.
“We’re not doing too much different,” coach Mark Mees said. “(Tennis) is a team sport, but it’s also an individual sport. You roll up your sleeves and work with each guy. Each one of these guys has been concentrating on the things that they need to get better at.”
After a home loss to Florida State two weeks ago, the Wolverines (3-4) traveled to North Carolina last weekend and were defeated by both William and Mary and
Wake Forest, getting swept by the Demon Deacons 7-0.
Despite the tough losses, the team is not discouraged, but knows what needs to be improved.
“We played some pretty good tennis down in North Carolina,” Mees said. “We’ve got to do a better job of executing in a relaxed manner and getting over the
hump to win tight matches.”
A big component of the team’s recent struggles is its doubles play. In each of the past three losses, the Wolverines surrendered the doubles point to the opposition before their singles players could even take the court.
“It means quite a lot when you’re playing against a good team,” said Mees of winning the doubles point right off the bat. “If you lose it, you have to win
four out of six singles matches to win the match. Against a very good team, it’s tough (to do that).”
Mees has decided to shake up the doubles teams, moving senior Chris Rolf up to the top doubles spot alonsgside sophomore Michael Rubin. Senior Chris Shaya now occupies the second doubles position along with sophomore Vineeth Gossain.
Doubles shortcomings aside, junior Anthony Jackson has been a bright spot for the team lately, winning his 10th singles match of the year last weekend. Jackson has also played well in doubles competition recently.
Mees thinks there is always room for improvement, however.
“The thing we’re working on right now for (Anthony) is for him to be a little more consistent physically and mentally every time out. He has to be a little
more level with his performance match-in and match-out.”
As the Big Ten season rapidly approaches, the Wolverines as a whole know that they will need to be consistent in order to compete with some of the
conference’s tougher opponents. With three teams currently ranked in the top 25 nationally (Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio Sate) Mees believes the Big Ten is as strong this year as he has ever seen it.
“We can’t control what other teams in the Big Ten are doing,” the coach said. “We can only control what we are doing.”
This weekend, the Wolverines will look to get back on the winning track when they face Toledo (3-5) and Indiana State (2-3) at the Varsity Tennis Center on
Saturday and Sunday.
“The mood of this team has been tremendous,” Mees said. “Everyone is working hard and staying positive.”