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Men’s Tennis: Freshman adjusts well to team play

Walker Carey | Monday, January 30, 2012

Freshman Wyatt McCoy’s recent transition from high school athletics to college competition has been more seamless than expected from the average first-year experience.

“[McCoy] brings an extra element of competitiveness into the building every single day,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “He really tries his hardest on every shot and as a result, he takes setbacks really hard. He learns from his mistakes and uses his setbacks to improve his game.”

Prior to coming to Notre Dame, McCoy was a highly successful high school and juniors player. Hailing from Shoreview, Minn., McCoy is the only player in Minnesota history to win a state title as an eighth grader. As a juniors player, he was ranked in the top 10 in the nation for the 12s, 16s and 18s division.

“If you watch [McCoy] play, he is faster than blazes,” Bayliss said. “There are not many balls that he cannot get to. Using his tremendous speed, he was able to break opponents down, as they would get frustrated that balls were always coming back. He drove people crazy.”

While the freshman’s speed was still a major advantage when he arrived on campus, he needed to make some other adjustments to get ready for college play.

“When [McCoy] got here, he came in with his juniors game,” Bayliss said. “All of a sudden, the court shrinks and everyone is bigger, stronger and faster. Some of the shots that worked at a slightly lower level are suddenly not working. He is currently working on improving the offensive side of his game and a lot of progress has already been made. His serve is much better now than it was when he arrived.”It is going to be exciting to watch him continue to improve.” 

The switch yielded to a different game for McCoy, as collegiate tennis is more of a team sport than he was used to.

“My high school career was a lot more about me improving as an individual,” McCoy said. “I have found that the college game is more about the team and improving your game to help the team. You come out of high school where you were one of the best players and now, your teammates are all very good players, so improving as a team is more important than improving as an individual.”

McCoy said his game has made some significant strides from when he arrived on campus.

“My serve has gotten a lot better and my understanding of the game has improved,” he said. “I have also been able to expand my game a bit. I was used to only using one style of play to get points, so I had to make some adjustments in that area.”

McCoy said he has two main goals for his tennis career at Notre Dame.

“People can say that they want to be an All-American, but I just want to become the best player and best teammate that I can possibly be and see where that takes me,” he said.

McCoy and the rest of the Irish return to action this weekend as they head to Winston-Salem, N.C. to battle Wake Forest on Friday, followed by a trip to Durham, N.C. to play No. 10 Duke on Sunday.

 

 

Contact Walker Carey at wcarey@nd.edu