Men’s Tennis Opens Duals Season Against DePaul (Men’s Tennis)

Franklin Kao and Franklin Kao

By Franklin KaoThe Daily Northwestern

Senior co-captains Matt Christian and Christian Tempke have learned from their last three years as Wildcats. As Northwestern (0-0) prepares to start its duals season this weekend, Christian and Tempke are looking to lead the Cats in their final season.

Although Christian is entering the season on an high note – he and teammate Willy Lock are the 27th-ranked doubles tandem in the nation – he still remembers the hardships he went through as a freshman and strives to help this year’s lone newcomer Alex Sanborn.

“In tennis you don’t really get to play as a team at all until you get to college, so, actually, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Christian. “We have one freshman (Sanborn), and it’s his first time doing it. (We) need to guide him into the team atmosphere … (Alex) isn’t playing for himself anymore, he’s playing for everyone.”

As the 2007 duals season begins, Tempke stressed that hard work breeding success, and maintaining a positive attitude, are the most important lessons from his tenure at NU that he can pass on to his younger teammates.

Tempke also mentioned that one of the hardest, and most important, things is to stay in shape while working all summer. Although the team had struggled a little at the beginning of the fall, both captains believe this year’s team is more experienced and in very good shape.

“Our first and foremost goal is to qualify for the NCAA tournament,” coach Paul Torricelli said. “The experience of last year is really going to be helpful. The guys really know the drill; they know what’s expected of them … I’m really excited, I think our attitude and our chemistry has been outstanding.”

The new season kicks off at home against DePaul (0-0) Friday at 6 pm at the Combe Indoor Tennis Center in SPAC. NU finished 12-11 last spring.

NU, currently ranked 56th in the country, is 17-0 all time against DePaul. The Cats head back to the court two days later against No. 29 Louisville (0-0) Sunday at noon, also at home.

“We’re really excited about Friday night,” said Torricelli. “Our previous assistant coach, Arvid Swan, took over as the head coach (at DePaul) … He was an outstanding coach for us for three years, and (this is) an opportunity for him to go and be a head coach; I’m really excited about that.”

As for Sunday’s matchup against the Cardinals, coach Torricelli said, “(Louisville) has really emerged in the last few years. That’s a top 30 team, and an important team. It’s a very big match for us.”

Reach Franklin Kao at [email protected]