While external expectations for the team are sky high, head coach David Roditi doesn’t believe in looking too far ahead.
“We don’t really set goals or expectations as far as results, I don’t know what the actual point of that is,” Roditi said. “Our whole focus on this year is doing things the right way and being excellent about the way we go about our day and how treat each other, how we respect practice and how we respect each other.”
Roditi said making the most out of every minute of practice is key.
This year’s team is younger than last year’s, with the possibility of having six first-years, three sophomores and two juniors, whereas last year’s team had five seniors.
Roditi remains optimistic about the infusion of youth on this year’s team.
“The exciting part about youth is sometimes you don’t really know what to expect, so you just go at it and there’s no fear in a way,” Roditi said. “Another exciting part is that there’s so much growth, which is really fun as a coach.”
Players like Trey Daniel and Hudson Blake, the only juniors on the team, are forced into leadership roles, but they have embraced the responsibility.
“Myself and Hudson Blake, another junior, have stepped into a leadership role that we weren’t in last year when he had five seniors,” Daniel said. “The biggest part of our roles as leaders is making sure everyone’s on the same path and working towards the same goals.”
Roditi is fully supportive of Daniel’s initiative.
“He’s really grown up these past two years, and I’m really proud of him and the person he’s becoming,” Roditi said.
Along with Daniel, sophomore Trevor Johnson and first-years Reese Stalder and Gregory Anderson will represent the team in Midland this weekend.
“I’m excited,” Daniel said. “Personally, a singles win there would be great. I’m also playing doubles with Trevor, so a doubles win would be great as well.”
The tournament in Midland is one of Roditi’s favorite matches of the year.
“I love it,” Roditi said. “It’s a very family-orientated atmosphere, with the alumni and the fans coming out to support, with all their little kids running around.”
The team’s top players, Cameron Norrie and Guillermo Nuñez, who are ranked No. 15 and No. 19 respectively, were invited to play in Oracle/ITA Masters tournament in Malibu, which matches the nation’s top sixteen returning players against each other for the first national collegiate championship of the 2015-16 season.
Roditi was overjoyed to have multiple players invited.
“That tournament has some of the best competition in the nation, it’s the top 16 players in the game,” Roditi said. “The fact that we have two players in the tournament is great for us.”
Roditi felt confident that both Nuñez and Norrie have the ability to start their seasons off strong.
“With Guillermo, he didn’t get to play a lot this summer because of a wrist injury from last year, so he’s got some catching up to do and he knows it,” Roditi said. “It’ll take some patience and hard work from him, but he’s a very good player.”
“As long he trusts the process, he’ll have a good tournament.”
When talking about Norrie, Roditi was more enthusiastic.
“Cameron is ready,” Roditi said. “He’s been waiting to compete, and he’s been a little antsy and edgy this week, which can be a good sign.”