Men’s tennis team to host fall championships

The University of Alabama men’s tennis team returns home to host the 2012 Fall Championships Nov. 2-4. Teams including Auburn, Samford and Southern Mississippi will travel to the Capstone to compete.

The Tide reached the semifinals in the 2012 USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championships two weeks ago, led by freshman Becker O’Shaughnessey in singles, and the doubles team of sophomore David Vieyra and junior Daniil Proskura. Becker made his regional championships debut a memorable one.

He accompanied senior Jarryd Botha in doubles, defeating the tournament’s No. 1 seed and the No. 2 team in the nation, before falling to Southern Mississippi in the semifinals. In singles, he took down Mississippi State’s Malte Stropp, who is ranked 47th in the nation.

“I had a solid tournament. I picked up some really great wins over ranked players, which helped out my confidence a lot and my team,” O’Shaughnessey said. “It feels like we are on the right path right now.”

O’Shaughnessey said he is looking to build on his momentum and expects to give 100 percent this weekend.

Alongside O’Shaughnessey, red-shirt freshman Brian Conlon received his first college win in the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championships. Conlon was red-shirted his first year at the University due to a wrist injury.

“I didn’t travel much with the team last year because of my wrist, so my mindset is pretty much like Becker, to go out and do the best I can,” Conlon said.

Coach George Husack expects his squad to compete very hard and improve, especially from his rising freshman.

“I am very impressed with Becker O’Shaughnessey and his continued development,” he said. “He is becoming a better player every day.”

Husack also discussed the team’s toughest opponent, Auburn.

Auburn’s senior Andreas Mies is ranked 11th in the country in singles. He was named an ITA All-American last spring. Mies came up short in the Regional Tournament in his second-round singles match against Mississippi State’s Romain Bogaerts. He could not compete the second day of play in doubles due to illness.

The Tide is aware of its competition and is making preparations. Another factor that is being taken in consideration is the format for this tournament. It is not a typical “win or go home” setup. Win or lose, competitors must complete all rounds for singles and doubles. This will require heavy conditioning and practice. Husack knows the physical and mental challenge and wants his team to be ready every day.

Thirteen teams will participate in the 3-day event beginning on Friday Nov. 2.