Rap. Hard Rock. Pop. European Techno. Country. As musical tastes
go, the No. 53 Michigan men’s tennis team’s preferences
are as varied as their diverse hometowns. The squad features
players from four countries and five states, creating some major
differences in music interests.

“We’re all very proud of our musical tastes,”
freshman Steve Peretz said.

Music is an essential part of most players’ warm-up
routines, with rap being a particularly popular option. In fact,
one Wolverine shares a hometown with Young HOV himself.

“I listen to my boy from Brooklyn, Jay-Z,” Peretz
said.

Each individual controls what plays in his own headphones, but
just one Michigan player can decide what plays on the Varsity
Tennis Center’s public address system before matches.
Currently, junior David Anving, who hails from Sweden, is
responsible for the warm-up mix.

Unfortunately, several of his selections have drawn the ire of
his teammates.

“It has certain country songs on there like (“I Love
this Bar” by Toby Keith),” junior Josef Fischer said.
“Those are not very popular with the guys on the
team.”

“If you go on Billboard.com and look at all the hits,
that’s what he put on there,” Peretz said. “Like
Outkast and Lil’ John and the East Side Boyz —
that’s a little played out.”

While Anving may get some ribbing from his teammates, his coach
stands above the musical fray. A self-proclaimed “classic
rock guy,” head coach Mark Mees chooses not to get involved
in the team’s music selections.

“Any of that stuff they throw in there, I’m happy
with,” Mees said. “I try to stay clear, make sure we
have some clean lyrics in there, and the rest is up to
them.”

For the Wolverines, music is more than just a way to get pumped
up for the match — it is a conduit for cultural exchange.
With so much foreign influence, the players are inevitably exposed
to some very different music.

“David (Anving) likes to try to culture us by showing us
Swedish music,” Peretz said. “(Freshman Brian Hung,
from Hong Kong) brings some interesting Cantonese music —
it’s very slow, mellow, like an ‘80s slow song like
‘Take My Breath Away.’”

Junior Josef Fischer grew up in Germany but has spent six years
living in the United States. As a result, his musical tastes are
eclectic, combining his natural European love of techno with the
classically American genre of rap.

“I like everything that gets me up and going, as long as
you can get your head bopping to it,” Fischer said.

Fischer and the rest of the Wolverines will have to be pumped up
this weekend, as they prepare to host a pair of nationally ranked
Big Ten schools. With high temperatures forecast in the 70s,
Michigan hopes to play on the Varsity Tennis Center’s outdoor
courts for the first time this season. After No. 68 Purdue comes to
town on Saturday, defending NCAA champion and current-No. 1
Illinois will roll into Ann Arbor Sunday, riding an NCAA record
53-match winning streak.

“They’re like the New York Yankees of collegiate
tennis,” Peretz said.

While the opponent will be as difficult as they come,
don’t expect the Wolverines to change a thing. Toby Keith
will still be blasting from the speakers, and Michigan’s
on-court approach will remain unaltered.

“We’re not going to do anything different,”
Mees said. “We’ll be ready to play, and we’ll do
our best.”

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