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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    At the helm of success

    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat

NAU Tennis cancelled for rain
    Sheldon Smith
    Sheldon Smith / Arizona Daily Wildcat NAU Tennis cancelled for rain

    UA men’s tennis head coach Tad Berkowitz has answered quite a few questions this season about his team, currently No. 18 in the ITA rankings. Though the questions and answers always vary, one factor remains constant: he never mentions himself.

    After every one of the team’s 17 wins this season, he has credited his players. Following each of the team’s three losses (all against ranked opponents), he has offered the same mantra: “”No excuses.””

    It is precisely this selfless, even-tempered approach that Berkowitz’s players say characterizes his coaching style and has directly contributed to Arizona’s success this season.

    “”I think a hundred percent of the time, he’s thinking about us and what we need,”” said junior Ravid Hazi. “”If we need some rest, if he knows we are tired mentally or physically, he’ll give us a couple days off. He doesn’t think about what he needs as a coach, but what we need as players.””

    Sophomore Andres Carrasco praised his coach’s ability to identify with each player individually.

    “”He’s adjusting to every single player,”” Carrasco said. “”He knows we have different personalities … different practice styles, and he’s adjusting to that.””

    Sophomore Jay Goldman added, “”He’s a laidback personality, so there’s a higher comfort level. We all feel pretty comfortable with each other. The personalities are right on this team, including Tad (Berkowitz).””

    This is not to say that Berkowitz’s easygoing style of instruction permits slacking off, as evidenced by his team’s upset of No. 8 Stanford last week.

    “”I know many other coaches are rough on their tennis players and very demanding in a bad way,”” Hazi said. “”Tad is demanding, but he’s more like us. …He wants us to have success and he motivates us to work hard, but in a positive way.””

    Goldman also emphasized that Berkowitz’s relaxed manner in no way denotes idleness.

    “”He’s a dedicated coach,”” he said. “”He’s very hands-on. He’s always out there, trying to get a feel for where the guys are and always with the best interests of the players in mind.””

    Even without taking into account the words of the players, Berkowitz’s results speak for themselves. In just his fourth year as the head coach for the Wildcats, he has led them to one of the best seasons in the history of Arizona men’s tennis, including a remarkable turnaround from last year’s campaign.

    Under his guidance, Arizona will now be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Pacific 10 Conference Championships.

    “”Before matches, he reminds us that if we go out there and fight hard, there isn’t anybody we can’t go up against,”” Goldman said. “”He gives us confidence in our abilities.””

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