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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frosh to compete in pro tourney

    On the same turf where talented tennis players evolve into professional legends, Arizona freshman Jay Goldman awaits his big opportunity.

    Goldman, a five-star signee from Worcester, Mass., competes today at the USTA Costa Mesa Futures Tournament in Costa Mesa, Calif.

    “”He’s playing at an amateur status in a professional tournament,”” said UA assistant coach Tom Lloyd, who will accompany Goldman. “”This is where everyone starts.””

    More specifically, “”everyone”” includes the world’s top-ranked player, Roger Federer, and No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal, who both began their careers on the Futures Tournament circuit. With such an unknown and unproven talent pool, Lloyd said, Goldman could compete against a future international legend.

    His first-round opponent will be Rhyne Williams, a high school junior from Knoxville, Tenn., ranked No. 15 in the tournament and No. 825 in the world.

    Goldman recalls competing against Williams last summer and said he is prepared for his style of play. A victory would allow Goldman to advance and compete Thursday.

    “”I just want to walk off the court and be happy, whether it’s winning or losing,”” Goldman said. “”I just want to be happy with the way I play and perform.””

    Goldman performed well in the 2006 season, running off a 27-0 record and finishing the season ranked No. 19 nationally and No. 4 in RPI among prep athletes, according to www.tennisrecruiting.net.

    UA head coach Tad Berkowitz said this tournament will provide Goldman with an opportunity to have his aspirations of becoming a future professional tested when he competes against some of the best up-and-coming players in the world.

    Although success against high-profile players provides confidence and momentum, Lloyd said, the fall season isn’t the prime time for peak performances.

    “”We obviously want to see the Wildcats do well, but we’re not looking for them to peak as far as potential,”” Lloyd said.

    In a sport that is predominantly based on individual performances, Goldman has done a great job adjusting to new teammates and surroundings, according to Berkowitz and Lloyd.

    “”All of the sudden, now your match counts for the Wildcats, and everyone’s working for the same goal,”” Lloyd said. “”He seems to be looking forward to the competition and what college tennis asks for an athlete.””

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