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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Shorthanded men’s tennis begins inaugural Pac-12 tournament

If competing as one of the youngest teams in the Pac-12 Conference isn’t hard enough, it’s nearly impossible once combined with injuries. The Arizona men’s tennis team has struggled all season for these two reasons.

The men’s tennis Pac-12 Championship begins today in Ojai, Calif. Arizona goes in ranked at No. 8 without Giacomo Miccini to play No. 5 Washington at 11 a.m. at Libbey Park.

The single elimination tournament will last from today through Saturday. This is the first time ever the Pac-12 will host a team tennis tournament to decide an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships.

With a roster of only eight players, head coach Tad Berkowitz said he can only recall a handful of times the team has played with a full roster.

The lack of depth hurt the team as it finished 5-17 overall and dead last in the Pac-12 during the regular season.

Junior Frank Chen is the oldest member on the team, but he made only a few appearances in the season. This left four sophomores and four freshmen to compete against top-ranked schools in the country.

Now subtract two sophomores from the mix due to periodic injury throughout the season and that leaves four freshman and two sophomores to carry out all the responsibilities.

Team captain Andre Vidaller suffered a pulled hamstring midway through the season. Miccini suffered a leg injury that pulled him out of the Wildcats’ lineup frequently.

The two interchangeably played in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions in singles play, which means their presence was sorely missed.

“It’s always a challenge competing in the Pac-12 without your full lineup,” Berkowitz said. “But we are going to compete hard like we always do and play with nothing to lose.”

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