Men’s tennis opens season Sunday

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    The TCU men’s tennis team will open its season Sunday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center with two matches against the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas-Pan American.

    Sunday will be the first time the team has seen in game action since Oct. 25 at the ITA Regional Championships in College Station. Senior Emanuel Brighiu put on a strong performance in his surge to the semi-finals at the tournament.

    Despite the layoff, first-year head tennis coach David Roditi said he liked the energy and enthusiasm he saw in his team heading into the spring season.

    Roditi expressed some concern about the training, though.

    “You lose a little bit of control over the Christmas break,” Roditi said.

    Members of the team, however, said they were sure they did not lose any ground during the time off.

    “We’ve been working on fitness a lot, and we’re all in great shape,” junior Slah Mbarek said.

    The players looked at Sunday’s matches as a building block for the rest of the season, Mbarek said. Getting off to a fast start is the most important thing, and he said the team could build off a win to start the season and have good things happen.

    Sophomore Sören Goritzka said that coming away with wins this weekend was very important for the team’s confidence going forward.

    The Frogs will have the advantage of playing their opening matches at home, and Mbarek and Goritzka both said familiarity with the slower material of the courts at the Friedman Tennis Center was a home court advantage.

    Roditi said there were questions to be answered about the team’s performance at home.

    “I’m glad we’re playing at TCU, not at UTA,” Roditi said. “But I don’t know this team that well. These are questions I have myself and am really curious to see what we’ve got.”

    Roditi said he liked what he saw from his players in practice and that he was pleased with the progress between September and now.

    UT-Arlington junior Mindaugas Celedinas and a cast of four seniors lead the UTA tennis team. Senior Aswin Vijayaragavan leads UT-Pan American’s roster.

    Roditi said he expected two tough, close matches Sunday and that he was not taking either foe lightly.

    “The guys are aware that this is going to be a tough match-up, and we’re going to prepare for it as well as we possibly can,” he said.

    Mbarek said it was a different experience playing multiple opponents in one day, but that adrenaline takes over in later matches.

    “Once you’re playing and you’re focused, you don’t really feel [fatigue],” he said. Mbarek emphasized the importance of winning when there are multiple matches in one day to maximize rest and recovery time.

    Getting the rest the will be crucial in the weekend’s quick turnaround, Mbarek said.

    The Frogs take on UTA at 11 a.m. and UT-Pan American at 4 p.m. Sunday.

    TCU men vs. UTA

    When: 11 a.m. Sunday

    TCU men vs. UT-Pan American

    When: 4 p.m. Sunday

    All matches will be played at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.