2012-2013 Harvard Tennis Season : News and Views Kick-Off Edition
In this Issue
Freshmen Move-in Day
Napa to New Yorl : Coast to Coast
ITA Regionals in New Haven
Harvard Halloween Invite
Eric Butorac Update
Freshmen Move-in Day
While the first "official practice" began on September 8th, the real kick-off to the season was on Monday, August 27th – Freshmen move-in day. It is now part of our tradition to meet and greet the "rookies" as they march, bags in hand, through Johnson Gate and into Harvard Yard. It is our favorite day of the year. The Yard is pulsating with energy – both from excitement and nervous anticipation. Parents are smiling ear to ear. Dave and I are there as they trek into their dorm room for the first time and meet their roommates. It sends us all down memory lane. We have four new freshmen that we will introduce in greater detail in the weeks and months to come. Kelvin Lam (Hong Kong), Conor Haughey (Wellesley, MA), Nicky Hu (Palo Alto, CA), and Nicholas Mahlangu (Las Vegas, NV). They have just figured out where the COOP Bookstore is located, have already gotten lost in the stacks of library (damn that Pusey Library), and have taken their first Ec. 10 unit test.
Pictured is Nicky Hu with Freshman Dean Tom Dingman (former tennis adviser and now tennis/faculty liaison) and Casey MacMaster (junior and co-captain).
With school starting right after Labor Day, the calendar has moved up considerably from the mid-September date we all remember. It means that the first practices are still "captains" practices as they train on their own and get a chance to bond together before Dave, Eric and I join in. The fall season is really about improving and honing skills, as there are fewer match opportunities. They spend a lot of time with our Strength and Conditioning Coach Kurtis West, who works with the team four times a week. Tennis is more and more about conditioning, speed and flexibility and we have amped up accordingly. We were able to have Kurtis study under the former USTA strength and conditioning director Mark Kovacs as well as hearing directly from Eric Butorac (top 30 in the world in ATP doubles) about the latest training regime from the guys on tour. It has really helped to make our regime more tennis specific and we've been seeing great results. Here is a classic video of running the stadium stairs last week.
We've also been able to do a few cross-training days. Touch football in the stadium and soccer on the fields. Here is the team doing their best imitation of the Pinocchio's soccer posters of the great Italian teams of the past.
Napa to New York: Coast to Coast
We split the team, with four travelling to Napa and the Meadowood Resort to compete with Georgia, Illinois, Stanford, Texas and host Berkeley and 8 of the top USTA National Team juniors.
In Napa, the tournament is using a new format the USTA and NCAA were able to create to help bridge the gap between the collegiate and junior game. It was largely the brainchild of Peter Wright, the Berkeley men's coach. The event is an embarrassment of riches, as the teams are hosted on a winery tour one evening, by the four star resort another, and spoiled rotten throughout by our host families over the whole weekend. Special thanks to the Clarks, Gilpins and Helaine Katz. A special shout-out to all the alums who came out to see us in action including Larry Scott, Pete Stovell and boys, Ian Williams, Dale Junta, and Hank Holmes.
In addition to all the fun community and the spectacular setting, it was also a great chance to cut our teeth against the best players in the country. While we were outgunned in a number of matches, everyone improved each day and came back to Harvard ready to work (and listen!) to what they needed to do to get to the next level.
On the same weekend, Dave took the rest of the team to Flushing Meadows and a fall regional event at the National Tennis Center. The event is full of players from the other Ivies and regional teams. It is a great way to get a first look at the competition and see how much work the boys did over the summer. Notable performances were turned in by Freshmen Kelvin Lam, who won his flight, as well as co-captain Andy Nguyen, who went 2-1 on the weekend with some big wins in the A-flight. It was a great bonding weekend as the freshmen were given nicknames.
ITA Regionals in New Haven
The next stop on our fall tour was the ITA Regionals held at Yale. This event is the latest iteration to the old fall "Rolex." The winners of the regional event still qualify for a spot at the National Indoors held at Flushing in early November. We had six singles players and three doubles teams in action. Notable performances were turned in by sophomore Denis Nguyen, who lost in the quarterfinals to Vlasco Mdladenov from St. John's. Shaun Chaudhuri and Nicholas Mahlangu fell a few points short of the quarters – as both dropped third set tiebreakers to foes from Brown and Cornell respectively. Andy Nguyen defeated Cornell's new top dog, Dragos Dima, from Romania, in the round of 32. He fell in the 16s to Marc Powers – Yale's senior star. These were very encouraging results and showed that we have a deep team, and plenty to work with.
Harvard Halloween Invitational
This was only home event of the fall. We hosted players from Dartmouth, Brown, Army, BU, Tufts, Amherst, and MIT. It was a fun weekend and gave us great match practice. The semifinal slots of the A-flight were all Harvard. Shaun Chaudhuri defeated roommate Alex Steinroeder in a battle of the sophomores while freshmen Kelvin Lam edged senior captain Andy Nguyen in the other semi in three sets. Chaudhuri would go on to win the event and earn COOP Athlete of the Week honors. In doubles, sophomore Denis Nguyen and Kelvin Lam took the A-flight title, while Shaun Chaudhuri and Henry Steer won the B-flight.
Eric Butorac, our volunteer assistant coach, scored some big wins this past few weeks on tour with victories over Laender Paes/Tecau in Bangkok and the Bryan Brothers in Shanghai. Well done. Eric is playing next in Stockholm, Basel and Paris.
E. Scott Mead Family Head Coach of Men's Tennis
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