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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Q&A: UA men’s tennis coach looks back on disappointing regular season

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

With the regular season ending and the Pac-12 Conference Tournament beginning, men’s tennis head coach Tad Berkowitz sat down with the Daily Wildcat and recapped the highs and lows of his seventh year at the UA.

How would you describe your coaching style?

I’m very competitive, and losing drives me nuts and keeps me up at night. I keep a lot of emotions internally to where I try to keep an even keel with the guys every day. Regardless of a good win or a tough loss, I try to bring the same personality and same energy every day for the guys. What I try to focus on too is adaptability. Our guys come from different parts of the world, and different upbringings, and as a coach it is important to adapt your coaching style to get the most out of your student-athlete.

What were the particular qualities you were looking for when you recruited Sumeet Shinde and Sebastian Ionescu this season?

Both Sumeet and Sebastian I was really impressed with. They handle things the right way. They are polite. They were appreciative. It seemed for both of them that this was an opportunity to continue their tennis at a high level as opposed to a right. That is something I look for when recruiting.

What was the highlight of the season?

We had a tough year, but even though there were losses, we were close to beating Stanford and Cal, who were both ranked top in the country. We played that match with only freshmen and sophomores and that showed me that the guys are improving, and as we look towards the future we are going to be pretty tough to beat.

What was the biggest disappointment of the season?

I felt injuries because I can probably count on one hand the number of times that we played with a full lineup. From Giacomo (Miccini) being injured to Andre (Vidaller) being injured, it just seemed like we didn’t play with a full deck the entire season. Which, when playing with such a young team, you have to have all your guys ready to go.

Who is the MVP for the season?

I would have to say Sumeet (Shinde), just with the ability for him to raise his game and play at the high level in the Pac-12. He won against the California schools, making him 3-1 at that point.

Since all the guys are coming back next season what do you look to improve on as a team?

We do have the opportunity to recruit some more guys. I think we need to add more depth for our team. Also working on the experience and confidence of the guys. Now they understand the rigors of the spring season, plus they know deep down that, OK let’s not just hang with these top teams. Let’s beat them.

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