Lebedev heads to Arizona for Fall National Championships
Alex Bender | Wednesday, November 7, 2018
While most of the Notre Dame men’s tennis team is done with action for the fall semester, there is still one team member competing. This Wednesday, senior Alex Lebedev heads to Surprise, Arizona, to participate in the ITA Fall National Championships.
After a busy fall schedule, the Irish concluded team play for the fall this past weekend with a pair of events: the Gopher Invitational hosted by University of Minnesota as well as the Dick Vitale Clay Court Invitational held down in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Continuing to find positive results as they have been all season, the team walked away with a pair of tournament titles in the process. In Minnesota, where the format was two-pair competition style featuring four rounds of one doubles and two single matches, junior Matt Gamble and senior Grayson Broadus were named champions after going a combined 11-1 in all competition. Additionally, the pairing of sophomore Tristan McCormick and senior Daniel Rayl finished in first place on the left side of the bracket, good for ninth overall, while sophomore Richard Ciamarra and senior Nathan Griffin finished in thirteenth place. Meanwhile in Florida, which was a traditional singles tournament, junior Guillermo Cabrera, freshman Axel Nefve and sophomore William Howells secured three of the four semifinal slots, with Nefve defeating Howells in the final. On the weekend and more generally on the year as a whole, Irish head coach Ryan Sachire has been extremely pleased with the dedication his team has put in toward continued improvement.
“We have a lot of individuals on our team who are continuing to make significant improvement almost week to week, and certainly event to event. It was really fun to see a lot of the hard work the guys have put in really pay off this past weekend, as a lot of them closed out their fall seasons on a really strong note,” Sachire said. “I believe we have a strong culture within our program where our guys are really serious about their tennis. They work hard and they want to be good, and so when you have that mindset coming in every day … we have a lot of guys that are really competitive and they see teammates doing well and putting up good results and they want to do the same thing.”
Looking forward to Wednesday, Lebedev is hoping to continue what has been a strong senior season, including top finishes at multiple tournaments, in addition to his securing a spot at Fall National Championships. Sachire recognizes what an accomplishment this is for one of his star players, who ultimately has professional aspirations.
“Alex for a year now has been pretty firmly established as one of the elite players in college tennis and in the country, and this is another stop on that tour for him. I think he’s gotten to the point where he believes in himself a great deal and at the same time he knows that the level of competition he’s going to playing against match in and match out — not only at this tournament but once we get into dual match season — and really the rest of his career is going to be high level competition,” Sachire said. “He’s had a really good couple weeks of training, and I think he’s prepared and confident but again, the margins are thin at the high level he’s at right now. He’ll do his best and hopefully that’s good enough to continue the strong results he’s had to this point.”
Lebedev finds himself as the 16th-ranked player heading into this tournament, and will match up against David Volfson of Cornell in the first round. The ITA Fall National Championships will conclude on Saturday to end the college tennis fall season.