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Men’s Tennis: Andrews improves during summer

Peter Steiner | Thursday, August 30, 2012

Junior Greg Andrews was not about to lose any of his momentum.

After a breakout season in his sophomore year, Notre Dame’s top tennis player was determined to advance his game even further this summer. As evidenced by his tournament successes and coach’s words, he certainly fulfilled his goal.

Andrews finished his spring season by competing in the NCAA singles championships, receiving his bid as the top-ranked player in the Big East. After falling in the first round, which ended his spring season, the Richland, Mich. native soon began his summer training in South Bend.

“I took class at Notre Dame, which allowed me to train with the coaches everyday, mostly twice a day,” Andrews said. “I also played in four different events. I played a minor pro tournament. I played something called the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) in Kalamazoo, Mich., which is a summer circuit for college players, and another minor pro tournament in Illinois.”

Andrews found success in a number of these competitions, with his top performances occurring in the Midwest ITA Summer Circuit in mid-July and the Futures Tournament during the week of Aug. 6.

“I won the tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the ITA Summer Circuit event,” Andrews said. “And I beat a pretty good player named [sophomore] Chris Diaz from Ohio State so I was pretty happy with my performance there.

“I played in a Futures, which is a minor pro tournament in Edwardsville, Ill. Since I’m not a professional tennis player I have to go through a qualifying draw. And I qualified for the main draw, which is a minor pro tournament, so I was excited to get in there and be able to play with players like that.”

In addition to his achievements in competition, Andrews and Irish coach Bobby Bayliss also recognize the results of his summer training program at Notre Dame.

“He’s made big strides in his game,” Bayliss said. “His second serve is much improved as is his backhand. His willingness to come to the net and finish points at the net is significantly better than it was.”

Andrews echoed his coach’s statements, explaining that he especially focused on the weaknesses in his game.

“I worked a lot on becoming a more well-rounded player,” Andrews said. “I struggled with my net game last year so I really worked on that this summer and also my backhand, which has always been my weaker side.”

While collegiate tennis players compete and train year-round, Andrews said the summertime is especially vital for improving one’s skills because of the lighter schedule.

“I think [the summer] is one of the most important times of the year,” Andrews said. “There is really no other time when you can really devote yourself to training for tennis like you can in summer. During the year you have school and other commitments that take up a lot of your time.”

With the start of the fall semester, Andrews and his fellow teammates must transition to the fall season, which is composed mostly of individual tournaments. The ITA National Indoors is the biggest individual collegiate tennis tournament and although it is not held until February, Andrews has set it as the goal for his fall season.

“My personal goals include the ITA National Indoors,” Andrews said. “You need to do really well in the All-American championships in Tulsa, Okla. or do really well in the regional championships, which I believe are at Ohio State. I’d really like to qualify for the National Indoor Championships by doing well in one of those two, hopefully both.”

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu