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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

On the comeback trail

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Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat Goldman

Arizona men’s tennis junior Jay Goldman was moving along one of the best trails of his collegiate career during spring 2009. He compiled a 13-8 overall record in the No. 1 singles position for the Wildcats, including four victories against ranked opponents.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) took note of his accomplishments and in fall 2009 had Goldman as the No. 36-ranked singles player in the country during preseason.

But against Fresno State University at the Pepperdine Fall Classic, a tournament hosted in Malibu, Calif., Goldman began noticing discomfort in his right wrist.

“”I ended up winning (the match), but I felt the pain in my wrist just a tiny bit, but then the next day, I couldn’t come back and couldn’t play,”” Goldman said. “”The pain was too much.””

The pain came from inflamed tendonitis in Goldman’s wrist. Ironically, Goldman is a lefty and the only thing he does with his right wrist is hit backhands.

“”I don’t have that same wear (on the right) as I have on the left so that was a bit frustrating,”” he said.

After the Pepperdine Fall Classic, Goldman earned a nod to play in the ITA All-American Tournament. He rested his wrist in the weeks leading up to the event to try to get back in the swing of things.

At the D’Novo ITA All-American in Tulsa, Okla., tournament, he played through the pain in the first round and won his match in three sets. Up next was University of Virginia junior, Sanam Singh, who was then the No. 9-ranked singles player in the country. Goldman lost in straight sets.

“”I just couldn’t go toe to toe with him,”” Goldman said. “”I was in too much pain, and that was my last match.””

After the untimely exit, the junior from Worcester, Mass., began his rehabilitation with athletic trainer Adam Garmon, who Goldman said has been an “”instrumental part in orchestrating the best treatment”” for him.

“”X-Rays, MRI’s — it was in question whether there was a bit of tearing, but there was really no structural damage,”” Goldman said of his initial treatments. “”It was just an inflamed tendonitis that I just couldn’t get down.””

At the beginning, his goal had been to come back at the beginning of the spring season, when the men faced Montana State University on Jan. 24, but he soon realized that wasn’t going to be the case.

Despite the setback, Goldman said watching his teammates over the past month and seeing their success made him even more determined to get back on the courts.

“”It just gave me more motivation to (speed up) the recovery as best I could and really spend as much time as I could to rehabilitate and get myself back out there,”” he said. “”Playing with some great teammates and seeing them fight has gotten me back into it.””

He used new strength and flexibility exercises to strengthen the wrist and also maintain its elasticity in preparation for his return.

After four months of minimal interaction with his tennis racket, Goldman made his return to the team last Friday at the No. 1 singles position at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

“”It adds another guy that comes up clutch for us,”” said men’s head coach Tad Berkowitz. “”We have a good number of guys that have that ability and right now it gives us confidence. Jay, last year, won some huge matches for us in both the (Pacific 10 Conference) and NCAA, so that gives the guys an extra jolt.””

Over the weekend, Goldman split his singles matches, losing an “”uncomfortable”” match 6-4, 7-5 on Friday to Brigham Young University’s Thomas Shubert, who is ranked No. 98 by the ITA. On Sunday he defeated No. 99 Lucas Viel from the University of South Alabama 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Goldman says that it was just the first step to regaining his confidence.

“”I’m just trying to get as many matches in, more confidence, more practice time, and my skill set should pick up quite a bit,”” he said.

For now, Goldman is back on the trail. Despite the unexpected turns he had to take and the new hills he has to climb, the destination is the same: Help the team be successful. Goldman said his individual goal is to earn an invitation to play singles in the NCAA Tournament, but he admits it will be an uphill battle for an individual bid because of his lost playing time.

“”It’s been itching at him for a while and it’s been a frustrating injury for him,”” Berkowitz said. “”I’m just happy for him how he can get back doing what he loves to do.””

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