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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tennis opens season off-campus in hopes to raise support

Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Daily Wildcat Shinde, Sumeet

In the hopes of sparking the community’s interest in Arizona tennis, both men’s and women’s teams will play their season-opening matches at Tucson Country Club on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. The women will host UC Santa Barbara and the men will host NAU.

“This will be the first time since I’ve been at Arizona that we kicked off the season like this,” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “It’s a nice way to reach out to the community and our fan base to bring them in on the action.”

All eight of the women’s team members will be returning from the fall season. The men’s team roster has changed slightly after losing sophomore Mike Pigou to a serious wrist injury. The team recruited two freshmen, India native Sumeet Shinde and Romania native Sebastian Ionescu.

“They will compete for us right out of the gate,” Berkowitz said. “It’s a big challenge for them because they learn what college tennis is about, basically in a week.”

The Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings of 2012 were released on Jan. 3, and the men were ranked No. 55 while the women’s team checked in at No. 32.

In singles play, senior Natasha Marks ranked No. 57 and sophomores Kim Stubbe and Lacey Smyth ranked No. 73 and No. 107, respectively. Marks and Stubbe ranked No. 49 for doubles play.

In men’s tennis, three Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 15 — No. 1 USC, No. 9 UCLA and No. 14 California. Meanwhile, five women’s teams are ranked in the top-20: No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 California, No. 16 USC and No. 18 ASU.

“It’s a good challenge competing in the Pac-12 because this year it’s the strongest conference in the country,” Berkowitz said.

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