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Men’s Tennis

Notre Dame begins spring season with matches against Ball State and Kentucky

| Friday, January 20, 2017

Notre Dame is set to begin the spring season this weekend when it hosts Ball State on Friday. Then, the Irish will then travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to face Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.

Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said his players spent Christmas break unwinding and training individually in preparation for this weekend’s opening events.

“Each guy went home after their final exams were done and had a good three weeks at home with their families,” Sachire said. “Towards the end of their break, some of our players practiced on their own and played in some tournaments or trained by going to an academy or gym. They did individual things and then we brought them all back last Tuesday to start practice a week before classes started. We had a great training camp here at Notre Dame and played a lot of tennis and got back into the swing of things. It’s been good. We’re healthy and playing well. I’m excited to get the season rolling here this weekend.”

Irish sophomore Grayson Broadus stretches for a shot during Notre Dame's 5-2 victory over Duke on March 18. Kathleen Donahue | The Observer

Irish sophomore Grayson Broadus stretches for a shot during Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory over Duke on March 18.

Sachire said the matches his team played during the fall semester helped it build the confidence to succeed during the spring.

“I think it’s important to have the basis confidence that you’ve already achieved success, you’ve won matches and that certainly helps from a foundation standpoint,” Sachire said. “Having that knowledge and that confidence that you can be successful but we have to establish the way that we want to play and compete every time we go out there. We don’t get credit for any wins we get in the fall and we know how good our opponents will be. They’ll be just as hungry and just as good. It helps from a confidence standpoint that we have to make sure we establish ourselves every day and be the team that we want to be every single day.”

Sachire said the one facet of his team’s game he’s hoping to improve is how they perform at the beginning of sets with the serve.

“A lot of tennis comes down to the serve and return of serve,” Sachire said. “Every point starts with somebody serving and somebody returning and a lot of times in tennis, the point doesn’t get past those first two shots. So I think as the semester goes on and we continue to practice every day and develop and improve, if we can become a better serving team and a better returning team, our overall success is going to go up.”

Sachire said he is depending on every one of his players to make an impact this season.

“We’re going to play a lot of guys and even the ones that won’t start in the starting lineup on Friday, someone might get hurt or come out of the lineup for one reason or another, and their presence will be required,” Sachire said. “Clearly it starts with our seniors as the ones who will be critical to our success. How they handle the ups and downs of the season will be huge for our team. They’re the ones who set examples for our young guys.”

Sachire said he is confident his team will do well because of the strong culture his players have built.

“I love our team. I really do,” Sachire said. “The culture has been amazing within our program and what that means is every day, these guys come in and they’re in a good mood and excited to be here, they’re ready to work, they’re ready to improve, they’re coachable, they listen. When you have that as a starting point, you know that you’re going to improve as time goes on and that’s the only thing we can control. Knowing that, I feel confident in saying that we’re going to be a better team a month from now than we are right now. We’re going to be better at the end of the season than we’ll be a month from now. That excites me and we’re just ready to compete on Friday.”

The Irish face off against Ball State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion before traveling to Lexington, Kentucky, to take on the Wildcats on Sunday at noon.

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