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

Tide looks to build on tough weekend

The Crimson Tide men’s tennis team opened its season this past weekend  at the Fighting Illini Invitational held at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill.

On day one, doubles matches seemed to be the largest obstacle for the Tide to overcome. However, Michael Thompson and Ian Chadwell seized a prime win over the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame’s Casey Watt and Stephen Havens fell to the Tide duo, 8-4.

Alabama senior Trey Walston and freshman Carlos Taborga also teamed up for a victory over the Irish, 8-6. In doubles over all, however, Notre Dame took four out of six matches against Alabama.

“We’re just trying to find the right pairs,” said head coach Billy Pate. “It’s there. We were close, but doubles are different tactically. There is definitely a sense of urgency, but our season is nine months long, and this whole thing is a learning process.”

The only other win the Tide was able to claim on the first day was Ricky Doverspike over sophomore Zach Leslie of Wake Forest, 7-5, 6-3 in a singles match.

Due to bad weather on day two, Alabama only participated in one round of matches, earning only one more win in the series. In singles, Walston collected the win over Wake Forest sophomore Amogh Prabhakar 6-4, 6-4.

On day three of the Fighting Illini Invitational, Doverspike earned a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Illini’s Stephen Hoh before falling short by decision to Notre Dame’s No. 37 ranked Watt, 6-3, 6-1. Thompson took both of his singles matches by storm.

“He was better than his opponents that day,” Pate said.

According to Pate, Thompson would have had a singles-winning weekend had it not been for the severe cramp he caught in his first match against Bruno Abdelnour of Illinois. He lost the match, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(7).

“Mentally, he was a stronger player than those guys,” Pate said. “But he couldn’t get over the loss Friday mentally or physically.”

Pate remains optimistic about his team’s ability to bounce back from this weekend.

“Tennis isn’t like football, one loss and you’re out of the title,” he said. “Roger Federer and tons of guys have had major losses in their careers and they’re still champions. It’s not only about handling the loss, but managing the win.

“Effort was great. We competed very hard. They were excited to open the season. In terms of the amount of success, we were a little disappointed. Ultimately, we just made a lot of mental errors, we blew the leads in a few matches and we had some bright spots for sure. That’s the experience we’re after, that’s why we play in the fall.”

The team went straight back to practice after Monday’s day of rest to get ready for this coming weekend’s tournament in Athens, Ga. The Southern Intercollegiate Tournament will have more than 40 teams competing. Undoubtedly, this is the largest fall tournament in the South.

This tournament will be completely different than the Olympia Fields competition. More teams means more fierce matchups, and the Tide will head to Georgia with a clear head, ready to play.

“Sometimes you can play well and lose and play crappy and win. But we know if we’re playing well and we’re competing well, we will be successful,” Pate said.

More to Discover