Tennis Gears Up With Pre-Season Yoga And Tournaments

Caitlin Smith

By Caitlin SmithThe Daily Northwestern

As fall quarter winds down, the Wildcats’ tennis teams are getting ready for the season with lots of oncourt time and big tournaments. The Big Ten Singles Tournament for the men, and the Indoor Tennis Association National Indoor Championship for the women provided some of the final practice they get before the season kicks into gear in January.

Once the winter season begins, men’s head coach Paul Torricelli said the emphasis will swing from individual tennis to team practices and play. To prepare for the upcoming Big Ten Singles Tournament, which will be played at the University of Michigan starting Nov. 10, Torricelli had his team play a tournament amongst themselves to simulate tournament experience. He noted his team’s impressive speed, strong baseline game and versatility as strong points, but is still looking for something else in his team.

“We need to get more match-tough,” he said.

Torricelli hopes that this will happen before the team’s schedule gets too difficult – with the ultimate team goal of reaching the NCAA tournament, the team has a “packed” home schedule this year that includes Louisville, Mississippi and defending National Champions Pepperdine.

“There is definitely an advantage to playing all these matches at home,” Torricelli said. “It’s tough to win on the road … a couple of key wins can be the determining factors in making it to the NCAA tournament.”

Senior retuning player Matt Christian hopes that this goal is realistic.

“I think we have a lot of potential this year and could surprise a lot of other teams,” he said.

The women’s team has great aspirations for the upcoming season as well, winning the Big Ten conference and advancing deep into the NCAA tournament among them.

Led by senior captain Alexis Prousis, the team has already performed well. Successful turns at tournaments throughout the fall – including this weekend’s Indoor Tennis Association National Indoor Championships and Bronco Invite tournament – have proved that the team is ready for a tough season.

The off-season starts now and lasts until January when the girls get back on the court as a team.

“It is really important to continue working hard between now and then,” said sophomore player Georgia Rose. “The whole team needs to keep working on our fitness and make sure we come back strong.”

In addition to working their way through a tough schedule this season, NU coach Claire Pollard foresees another difficult task: choosing the line-up in January.

“[Finalizing the line-up] will be the hardest it has ever been here,” she said. “We have incredible depth and I feel very fortunate to have so much talent and great workers on the team. It has already been a lot of fun working with this group, and it’s only going to get better. Everyone has shown something this fall that makes them special.”

Reach Caitlin Smith at [email protected]