UA men’s team looks to finish 2012 season strong

Kevin Connell

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The Alabama men’s tennis team concludes its fall season this weekend at the Georgia Bulldog Scramble held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

The tournament, which begins this Friday, Nov. 9 and ends Sunday, Nov. 11, will host abouta dozen schools, mostly those from in and around the Southeast, where many of the top-ranked teams in the nation reside.

Although the team is unsure of the playing format and the draws for the four players that will be selected by the coaching staff to compete at the tournament this weekend, the team is optimistic about their chances as they look to build momentum for the spring.

“It’s our last tournament of the fall so we want to compete and have a strong finish,” first-year head coach George Husack said. “We have made steady improvement with every tournament. We’ve had some individual highlights for some guys, but collectively, we’ve gotten better.”

No matter how good or bad a team is, there is always room for improvement, and this team is no different.

“As a team, I think we need to learn to compete better, which we are,” sophomore Rens van der Vis said. “For me personally, I think I need to improve my serve and my fitness. I need to get quicker and stay in shape for later on in matches.”

Despite the team not knowing the setup of the tournament, it certainly has an idea of what to expect.

“I expect to play around six matches: three singles and three doubles,” van der Vis said. “If it’s a normal draw, then I could be done by Saturday if I don’t do well.”

One thing that is known for sure is that as a whole, the team is really looking forward to playing at Georgia’s tennis complex. As one of the of the largest college tennis complexes in the United States, the Dan Magill Tennis Complex routinely hosts the NCAA Championships every couple years in the spring.

“I went there on an unofficial visit when I was being recruited,” van der Vis said. “It’s a nice school. They have a really cool stadium over there and have really loud fans, so it will be fun.”

Other teammates are also looking forward to this particular stadium.

“Georgia is a great place to play a tennis tournament,” Husack said. “I think playing there adds a little something.”

Though no one ever wants to lose, players and coaches alike see this tournament mostly as a warm-up for the spring season, when the team actually competes as a team.

“In the spring, we play team versus team straight up,” Husack said. “Fall is important at a competition and individual standpoint.”

From this perspective, the Crimson Tide has only one thing on their minds: to reach the NCAA Championships this May.

“Last year wasn’t good enough,” Husack said. “We want to perform much better than we did last year and get back to the NCAA tournament.”