Men’s Tennis: Andrews to travel to All-American
By Peter Steiner | Thursday, October 4, 2012
With lofty expectations as the No. 24 singles player in the country, junior Greg Andrews will finally get a chance to truly prove himself.
Over the next four days, the top player on the Irish squad will compete against the best 64 singles players in the country at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
After finishing last year ranked No. 54 with a 26-5 singles record, Andrews has already faced tough competition this fall. The junior most recently played in the OFCC Invitational in Olympia Fields, Ill., and in September he faced off against current ATP tour player Conor Niland in Ireland. Now with those experiences under his belt, Andrews will face some of the top collegiate competition in the country.
“He worked very hard this fall and is showing steady improvement,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “He was the MVP of the Illini Invitational that had a number of top teams in it. I have every reason to think he’s capable of doing very well in the ITA All-American.”
In the first round of the tournament, Andrews will square off with junior Clay Thompson from UCLA. If Andrews is able to hit a strong backhand, control the court and stick to what he’s done so far this season, he will find success, Bayliss said.
“In general, if Greg returns well off the backhand and is able to play up in the court enough to cut in on the backhand side, I think he can certainly play with anybody in the country,” the coach said. “He’s played at a high level all fall. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just keep him on the same path.”
Because Andrews will match up with the top players in the nation, the ITA All-American Championships has wide-reaching implications. National rankings, NCAA seeding and qualifying for later tournaments are all largely based on players records against the best.
“Obviously when you get to play against the best players in the country in any event, you are going to get opportunities to get wins that will help your ranking and your ability to qualify for the NCAA championships, your seeding in the NCAA tournament and the goal to be ranked high enough to become an All-American,” Bayliss said. “If you reach the quarterfinals, the final eight, of this tournament, you are also automatically invited to National Indoors which is in November and is the top-30 players in the country.”
Despite the concrete possibilities associated with this tournament, Bayliss also recognizes the opportunity for Andrews to improve his game by playing against tough competition.
“I’m more interested that he plays well and competes well and continue to build on what he’s done so far,” Bayliss said. “Every outstanding player you play against, you’re forced to stretch your game to a higher level in order to be competitive.”
Andrews will begin his tournament play when he faces off with Thompson at 10:30 a.m. today at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
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