The Alabama men’s tennis team is set to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first round of the Southeastern Conference championships Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Oxford, Miss.
The Crimson Tide finished the regular season 12-12 as it lost its final seven matches of the season. Alabama’s conference record was 3-8 as it finished 12th in the SEC, only ahead of Arkansas.
“Everybody progressively improved their game through the season,” Proskura said. “We let a couple of matches go in the middle of the season, but I feel like we have a great opportunity in the SECs.”
Alabama has not won a match since beating Auburn 4-3 on March 16. Even though the team hasn’t won a match in more than a month, head coach George Husack said the Tide is currently playing at the highest level it has played at all year.
“Right now I actually think we are playing better tennis,” Husack said. “Despite the streak that we have been on, I think we are competing better now, and we got energy. Guys are excited to play, and they want to win.”
Alabama beat Arkansas 6-1 in the two schools’ only meeting of the regular season on March 8 in Fayetteville, Ark. Husack said it’s good for the team to face an opponent it has already defeated.
“I think the Arkansas match will be a good challenge for us, because we have beaten them already,” Husack said.
Proskura said the key against the Razorbacks is to go out and play well early and control the match.
“I feel that we need to get a good start in doubles,” Proskura said. “Then we need to start well in singles and keep things rolling. We do that [and] we will have a great opportunity to beat Arkansas.”
If Alabama beats Arkansas, it will go on to face the Ole Miss Rebels in the second round on Thursday. Ole Miss is a team the Tide competed well against this season but fell just short in the two teams’ only match of the year.
“If we were to win, we would play Ole Miss, who we had match points on,” Husack said. “Having a match before that match is great, but we have to get there first by beating Arkansas.”
Despite the slump it has recently been in, the Tide is confident and focused headed into the conference tournament. Proskura said the team is ready to compete for the opportunity to win the SEC Tournament.
“Everyone is really excited to go to the SECs every year. It’s the biggest tournament of the year for us,” Proskura said. “Everyone is ready to compete, and we will see what happens when we start.”