Men’s tennis keeps a good attitude

Britton Lynn

After beating Southern Mississippi on Friday 5-2 but later falling to Kentucky on Sunday 5-2, the Alabama men’s tennis team is trying to stay focused and regroup before its next game.

“The key is, we’ve got to understand that we can’t let those losses against top teams impact us in a negative way,” said head coach Billy Pate. “Our mental aspect has to be positive now with the back stretch of the SEC schedule and matches.

“We’ve got opportunities, so it’s the way those guys bounce back from the loss to Kentucky and those other losses, and it’s the way they are able to put it behind them to move forward.”

Even though the team has lost the last three SEC games, putting them at 1-5 in the conference, their season record still remains among the top teams in the nation at 8-10.

“I think we just need to keep on plugging away, and being positive is part of playing well. As a team we need to keep it strong,” said freshman Jarryd Botha. “I think our losses have affected us quite a lot, but looking ahead and looking at the next matches is important and we just need to put the past behind us and learn what we can and just keep going forward.”

In the singles competition against Kentucky this past weekend, Alabama won two of the six matches. For the doubles competition, the Tide won one of three.

“Whenever you have close losses, you always tend to put yourself in a negative situation,” senior Saketh Myneni said. “We have to try to stay positive even when things are going wrong. We’ve been doing well playing and fighting through the matches. Now we just need to try to convert the points to go our way.”

Despite losing to Kentucky, the men’s tennis team moved up in rankings this week from No. 37 to No. 33. From now until the end of the season, Alabama wants to focus on playing with a short team memory and staying in the present. Although the Tide will be starting its weekend with a clean slate, the team still wants to continue to improve specifically on its doubles play.

“We need to do a better job of executing in doubles to start,” Pate said. “When you get behind in 1-0, even though it’s just a point, it’s a critical momentum in shift. Against any good team, if you’re down 1-0, it’s hard to win any of the singles if you’re down in the doubles. In particular we need to work on making a high percentage of first serves, making returns and minimizing unforced errors.”

The Tide’s optimistic approach to the rest of the season will be a significant part of whether the team can rebound in its SEC play.

Alabama hosts LSU on Friday at 3 p.m. and Arkansas on Sunday at noon.