Men’s tennis readies for ITA

091609_sports_mtennisWith a new, albeit familiar coach and a solid group of returning players, men’s tennis looks to lay the groundwork this fall for a strong preseason in order to ultimately improve upon last year’s NCAA quarterfinals appearance in the spring. Having lost three players to graduation, the Ephs are returning Dan Greenberg ’08 as Head Coach. The 2008 NESCAC Player of the Year will guide several former teammates and the rest of the Ephs just two years after finishing his own impressive collegiate career.

Even though it may seem difficult to make the quick transition from player to coach, as a young alumnus Greenberg has a different outlook than many other coaches have. “Having played for Williams (and with three current players), I think I have a good idea of what this group wants to accomplish and can accomplish,” he said. Greenberg was a two time All-American honoree and won the ITA singles title during his time playing at Williams. He brings a breath of fresh air to the team and hopes to use his Williams experience to inspire his team to work hard and play hard.

Greenberg is already impressed with the dedication of his team. “The team’s biggest strength by far is their work ethic,” Greenberg said. “I wanted to be tough on them in the first few weeks, but it’s hard to know if I’m actually being tough because of how motivated they are and how much they’re enjoying the work: I might have to amp [the work] up. They’re also a talented group, with a lot of ability throughout the lineup.”

Although the team is clearly very talented and hardworking, the inexperience of the majority of the team could provide a very large obstacle this season. With only five upperclassmen on the roster and eight first-year players, Greenberg hopes that the fall season can provide the experience and cohesion the group needs to succeed in the spring. “If we have the work ethic, then we definitely have the potential to be a very strong team,” Greenberg said. “We just have to keep learning and improving, which [will be] our main goal in the fall.”

The fall season is very short, and the Ephs will only play in two tournaments, the ITA New England Regionals beginning Sept. 25 and the Dartmouth Invitational beginning Oct. 2. Even in the limited tournament play, these large events that will allow the Ephs to compete against many Div. III and Ivy League teams. Greenberg and the rest of men’s tennis hopes that these tournaments combined with strong leadership and dedication can pave the way for a deeper, more experienced team when the spring rolls around.