Men’s Tennis: Team focusing on doubles play
Katelyn Grabarek | Wednesday, November 11, 2009
After having a successful fall season with their singles lineup, the Irish will focus on their doubles play during the offseason before beginning the spring season in January.
“We need to work on better doubles play,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “This means embracing higher first serve percentages, more aggressive net play and being solid from the back when on defense.”
The Irish seem to have their No. 1 singles position locked in heading into the spring season with sophomore Casey Watt seeing the majority of the playing time at the position this fall.
“Casey had a significant breakthrough at the ITA Regionals,” Bayliss said. “Reaching the finals in a field that included some of the better players in the country is a terrific achievement. Beating Justin Kronauge (of Ohio State) is quite an accomplishment, as he had been the No. 1 player in the U.S. in the juniors several years ago.”
“His win over Michalika [Wisconsin] is significant because he beat Brett Helgeson twice last year. He clearly is becoming more aggressive and getting to the net more than a year ago,” Bayliss said. “He always had the heart and wheels of a champion, but he now is getting some new weapons which allow him options he previously lacked.”
The Irish have also seen good performances out of some of their freshmen this fall, including Blas Moros and Michael Moore.
Bayliss noted that Moros has added some pop to his serve, and Moore is working on moving forward and being more successful at the net.
To go along with Watt and the two freshmen, fellow sophomore Sam Keeton has shown signs of improvement, playing well at the Harvard Invitational in Massachusetts.
Juniors David Anderson and Matt Johnson both responded well to nagging injuries during the fall season and finished out the fall season with strong performances at the William and Mary Invitational.
Bayliss knows that while he may have his No. 1 set, he will need other guys to come up with some major wins at the lower spots in the lineup in order for the team to have success.
“Maintaining motivation while awaiting playing opportunities is important,” Bayliss said. “We truly have nine players, at the very least, who we feel are capable of winning big in the lower lineup. We may need to rotate our guys in and out of the lineup at the beginning of the season to see who is doing the best job.”
Notre Dame will look to continue its fall success heading into the dual match portion of its schedule, which opens at home on Jan. 22 against William and Mary.