Crimson Blog -- The Kick-Off Event for the New Season
The 2011-12 Crimson Tennis season started off with a bang in this 375th anniversary year for Harvard. What better way to begin the season than by hosting the three-time defending National Champion USC Trojans, #10 Texas A&M Aggies and the University of Michigan Wolverines on a beautiful reunion weekend? The format was a flighted event that counted for individual results, but the players were able to get the feeling of being on the court at the same time with their teammates against another school (only dual matches played in the spring count for NCAA rankings).
Right from the start, the Crimson netters trumpeted their presence by capturing three of four doubles matches on Friday against USC. At #1 doubles, senior co-captain Alistair Felton and sophomore Casey MacMaster launched cannon serves and smothered the net on their way to 9-7 win over Dan Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento. The team of Nguyen-Nguyen (get it?...it's a "win-win" pairing?) featuring junior Andy Nguyen and frosh Denis Nguyen (no relation) kicked off their campaign to be the future of the Vietnamese Davis Cup team by winning against the USC tandem at #3 doubles and then vanquishing the Michigan #2 pair the next day. The freshman duo of Henry Steer and Shaun Chaudhuri captured the fourth doubles match in convincing fashion (more about the freshmen below…)
The Trojans, true to their championship mettle, righted themselves by the start of the singles and showed us what top tennis looked like. Their poise was remarkable (no huffing about the doubles) and, as a team, they were consistently able to finish points at the net after establishing position advantages from the baseline. The Trojans were missing their top star and NCAA singles champ, Stevie Johnson, who is spending the fall on tour (he already won two back-to-back US futures tournaments) and will be rejoining the team to help in their historic bid to win four consecutive titles. (Many of you might have seen Stevie lose a heartbreaking 5 setter to Alex Bogomolov Jr. at the Open). A rising star waiting in the wings for the Trojans is their German freshman, Yannick Hanfmann, who is certainly one to watch in the future. He won all of his matches on the weekend in both singles and doubles. You heard it here first.
The other big highlight of the weekend was the taking of six of eight singles matches against the Wolverines. University of Michigan's top gun, Evan King, a member of the US Davis Cup practice squad against Spain – won all his matches over the weekend – taking out our best gunslinger, Jonathan Pearlman, in a tight two sets. Four freshman recorded wins against Michigan – signaling their arrival in Cambridge. Frosh Alex Steinroeder from Concord (now Holliston), MA prevailed at #2 in a long 3 hour match in the second spot. Henry Steer and Shaun Chaudhuri wore their opponents out at #5 and #6 respectively. If you want to see some video of the weekend and hear Coach Fish wax poetic about the boys then click play button on the "Tournament Reflective": http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/mten/index You can also find all the tournament results at this site as well.
Every fall feels like a new beginning with unique hopes and hurdles. This year's team is chock full of freshman who are already making an impact in our daily practice, challenge matches and outside competition. The upperclassmen are working harder than ever to regain the Ivy Crown (with the added motivation of trying to stay one step ahead of the frosh!). It's all healthy. Two stellar captains in Davis Mangham and Alistair Felton lead this year's team. They are two absolutely top-notch young men who have contributed a great deal to HMT over the past years and are steering the team in the right direction. We are blessed to have them presiding over the squad.
VIP Guest list over the weekend: Bruce Price, Rick Devereux, Don Pompan, Dan and Jeannie Klineman, Roger (and son Oscar) Berry, Todd Meringoff, Kunj Majmudar, and Mitty Arnold…
Get to know the freshman! Here is a fun, short video introduction to our freshman class produced, edited and mixed by senior extraordinaire -Mac McAnulty. Guaranteed to make you laugh. Some inside scoop: Freshman Shaun Chaudhuri from San Francisco has scored wins against the "Chess Master" at Au Bon Pain. Freshman Alex Steinroeder is best known for his signature slice forehand (compliments of Laury Hammel – his junior coach). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdvrDe1PDgs&feature=player_embedded
Here is a photo of the Crimson's Andy Nguyen '13 and Denis Nguyen '15 with Dan Nguyen of USC at Chipotle after the match!
E. Scott Mead Family Head Coach of Men's Tennis
Harvard University Dept of Athletics
65 N. Harvard St.
Boston, MA 02163