Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

High hopes for the Tide


The men’s tennis team is coming back this season stronger than it has been in the past few years with two new international players, Carlos Taborga from Bolivia and Daniil Proskura from Estonia. Also, many of the Tide’s key players, such as junior Ricky Doverspike, who ended the last season with injuries, will be returning healed and ready to play.

Many of the players this year have at least two years of experience with Alabama, an advantage the Tide didn’t quite have last year.

“Having experience is really critical; our best years here have been when we have had really experienced guys,” said head coach Billy Pate. “You can have really good freshmen but if they’re not accustomed to it, it’s really going to be a challenge.”

Proskura has brought optimism and a lot of international experience to the Tide.

“He definitely has the skills to help us beat the big teams like Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee,” said Doverspike.

Proskura won’t be with Alabama until the spring, a situation that, while common in tennis, “is kind of odd because half the year is gone,” said Pate. “But our main competition part of the season is in the spring.”

Doverspike and junior Michael Thompson have been playing doubles together for most of their college career and are starting this season nationally ranked as No. 51.

“We’ve played the last two years [together] and we are really good friends,” said Thompson. “It’s always good to play with someone you’re really good friends with and we play well together so hopefully we can continue and get ranked higher.”

This year the duo won’t be playing together any longer, though. “We’re not going to be playing together this tournament or the next because we’re trying out different combinations on the team,” said Doverspike.

Both players said they hope to be paired up again, “We’re roommates so we’re around each other pretty much all of the time,” said Doverspike. “We know our tendencies. We both know I’m on top of the net and he goes back for an overhead because he’s quick.”

Alabama didn’t quite finish their last season the way they wanted to. “Last season we had a sort of tale of two seasons,” said Pate. “We started off really well with a lot of potential but we just didn’t [succeed] down the stretch. Injuries really took a toll. We sort of ended on a sour note, limping to the finish line.”

This season the Tide wants to start out the way they did last season but maintain that drive throughout the year.

This coming weekend, the Tide will play their first game of the preseason in Chicago. “It’s a hidden dual so it won’t show up on paper,” said Doverspike. “But it will definitely boost our confidence if we win; it can also hurt our confidence if we lose.”

More to Discover