Tennis teams off to rocky season start

Sai Srikar Kadiyam

Coach Kendell Hale is not worried about the slow start the men and women’s tennis teams have had so far this season.

With the men off to an 0-5 start and the women 1-2, Hale said, “We are notorious for slow starts.

“We’ve got lots of work to do and many things to improve. But this is one of the best teams that we’ve ever put together −both men and women.”

There are two main goals this season: winning the men’s Summit League championship for the third year in a row and being ranked in the top 75 in the nation.

“We want the third one (championship in a row), but we also want to be ranked higher,” Hale said.

The abundance of international student-athletes is something that Hale considers important. Players from countries such as France, Colombia, Belarus, Greece, Kuwait, Russia, Australia, Germany and the U.S. complete the team.

Tennis is an international sport and we want to have the best there is,” Hale said.

Junior Tomas Patino was named the Summit League Player of the Week following an outstanding performance against Southern Illinois where he rallied for a three-set (2-6, 6-4, 10-8) victory.

“I am very happy and satisfied,” Patino said. “It’s the first time I win this award, and it helps all of us to do our best everyday.”

In Patino’s opinion, the tough start was because, “We’ve had many absences. A player was suspended, and two are injured. We need to leave that behind and keep practicing.

“We are not just a team, we are a family. We are all very good friends.”

The women’s team started the season on the other side of the country with losses to California State- Northridge and California State- Fullerton.

Senior Suzan Lisenby said she believes that the negative results are not entirely bad. “Overall the team played pretty well,” she said. “We are discovering our strengths.”

Lisenby emphasized how important preparing for the season is.

“Everyday, outside or inside the court, at the gym or on the road, preparation is basic,” she said. “Fortunately, our coaches are experts and they know what they are doing.”

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