Men’s tennis, ranked fifth in the nation following the fall season, seems poised to have an exceptional spring. The team was not satisfied following the fall season and felt that it could improve upon the already high standard they established by dedicating themselves to getting stronger and faster.
“The team… worked incredibly hard this off-season,” Head Coach David Donn said. “I have been very proud of how the team has stepped up its intensity throughout the year.” Since the courts were frozen over for the entire off-season, as co-captain Rick Devlin ’09 described, the team focused on conditioning, like “playing basketball, lifting, and doing our infamous squash court suicides.”
“I could not be more proud of how everyone approached the offseason,” Devlin said.
The men will certainly need to rely on their talent and excellent conditioning as they play their demanding schedule, with 11 of the 14 matches against teams ranked in the top 30 in the country. However, this constant pressure is exactly what the team wanted. “I believe it’s important to play the best and not shy away from anyone,” Donn said. “We [will] have adversity to overcome like any other team in certain regards, and the top teams find ways to rise above it.”
The season begins on a difficult note, since the team will not face its first competition until the spring break trip. The Ephs will travel to California and then Atlanta, where they will have the doubly difficult task of playing on outdoor courts for the first time in months against four of the top-15 ranked teams (Emory, Claremont, Gustavus Adolphus, University of Redlands). These schools, and the majority of the teams that the Ephs will play, are already playing matches, Devlin said. “Most have an indoor facility, or nice weather, easy academics or a bigger budget. So yes, we are at a disadvantage,” he added. “However, it has never been an excuse for Williams tennis: we are better competitors and tougher mentally than those teams.”
Another factor that will ensure the team’s success is its tremendous talent. “The freshmen are a great addition to our team and will definitely contribute to our success,” co-captain Karol Furmaga ’09 said. “We lost two seniors, Dan Greenberg and Gary Simonette, who were tremendous assets, but the amount of talent that we currently have on our team will definitely make up for that loss.” will definitely make up for that loss.”