M-tennis opens fall season

Kyle Johnson

The Arizona men’s tennis team traveled this weekend to Las Cruces, N.M., for its first tournament of the season, the Aggie Invitational. While the final results were not overly impressive, the Wildcats still left with confidence and optimism.

“(For being the) first tournament out of the gate with official practice not starting yet, the guys did pretty well,” said assistant coach Tom Lloyd, who traveled with the team in place of head coach Tad Berkowitz. “We took two freshmen (Carlos Bermudez and Robin Chou), so they’ve never really seen the light of a college match or college competition … It was a good test for both freshmen.”

Of the four Wildcats who traveled, sophomore Mario Urquidi finished third, losing in the semifinals in the singles division. According to Lloyd, junior Frank Chen and Bermudez won their opening matches before being eliminated, and Chou lost his first round match but won once in the back draw before being eliminated.

Official statistics were not available by publication time.

Since it was the first tournament of the season and official practice did not start until Thursday, the coaches elected to bring a younger and less experienced team to let them gain some experience at the collegiate level.

“The first tournament is always a tough read,” Lloyd said. “It is always a great opportunity to see where the guys are, what they did over the summer, and what we need to work on for the upcoming year.”

Of course, considering the current composition of the roster, this group was not much younger than any other combination that coaches could have constructed. Chen, a junior, is the only upperclassmen on the roster.

This weekend’s strong performance by Urquidi was reminiscent of his trip to Las Cruces last year, where he won his first college title in the lower division of the Aggie Invitational.

“I thought I played pretty well (this weekend), just considering the fact that we haven’t really started practice yet,” Urquidi said. “It was a good tournament to go to just to get all the other guys — the young freshman guys — some experience and just see how the college level is.

“For how much I’ve practiced, I was pretty happy (with my performance). I had a couple of pretty good matches where I played well, so overall I think it was a pretty good tournament.”

The Wildcats also participated in the doubles competition, teaming up Bermudez/Chou and Chen/Urquidi. Both pairs struggled mightily.

“The doubles was a different story, back to the drawing board for sure,” Lloyd said.

But Lloyd remained optimistic about the season and is ready for it to get underway.

“We are looking forward to a young team this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun year for the coaches, but a lot of learning and a lot of teaching for the guys.”