The Harvard Men's Tennis Season kicks off tomorrow at home against the Northwestern Wildcats (2pm) and on Saturday against the Purdue Boilermakers (noon). Come out and support this years squad and watch the Crimson tussle with the Big Ten in the Murr Center.
The players have been putting in months of work for their opening match tomorrow since arriving on campus in early September. The team is looking forward to putting all that training to the test. This fall we renewed commitment to get in the best shape possible. To achieve this end, the team worked out four mornings a week with our strength and conditioning guru – Andy Burgess – who had previously been working as Emilio Sanchez' right hand man at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Spain. If you know the sleeping habits of teenage boys you won't be surprised to hear that the 7:30 a.m. sessions were met with grumbles and groans but we expect to go longer and stronger in our matches in 2011.
Besides Andy Burgess, our other secret weapon this year is our volunteer assistant coach – Eric Butorac – who fell today in the Aussie Open doubles semifinals to the Bryan Brothers! You heard that right – the SEMIFINALS. We are so proud of Eric's accomplishment down under with partner Jean-Julien Rojer. They took down the 4th and 12th seeded teams along their route to the final four. Eric is recently engaged to Maggie Suydam who now lives in Cambridge (lucky for us!). They met on a flight to Paris when Eric was on his way to an ATP Tour tournament. Maggie was a former Dartmouth tennis player (we won't hold that against her). Eric played for the Boston Lobsters in World Team Tennis this past summer and has been spending most of his down time from the tour in Beantown. Eric has been coaching our boys in the finer points of doubles as well as giving them a view of what the game looks like at the top. When Eric is on the road, we will be sending him video of our matches so he can comment electronically about their positioning, return choices, serving patterns etc… We should have him at home next week as he rests after the Open.
With exams now before the winter recess, we were able to start training on January 15th and have been going full speed ahead since then – we scrimmaged Dartmouth and played a weekend singles/doubles tournament with Marist and George Washington to get everyone enough match play. For the seniors – Aba Omodele-Lucien (captain) and Alexei Chijoff-Evans this is their last go around and they are eager to soak up the excitement of one more college season. For the frosh, this will be their first test in the white-hot heat of battle. Casey MacMaster, our 6' 5" rookie from Colorado, will be seeing is first action over the weekend while the other frosh Brendan Seaver (CT) and John Thornton (FL) will be waiting in the wings and soaking it all in.
We hope you will come out and join the fun this year. You can find our entire schedule by clicking this link.