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Men's Tennis comes back from their tournament with a much improved team from last year

BY JACK ROSSI | SEPTEMBER 25, 2013 5:00 AM

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After their first tournament of the year, the Hawkeye men’s tennis team has shown much improvement over last season.

The team returned from its first tournament of the season with a lot to be proud of. Andres Estenssoro won both of his matches this past weekend and finished with a 4-1 doubles record and a 2-1 singles record. Michael Swank and Joey White won their first match on Sunday before losing to a pair from DePaul.

“Overall, I thought [the weekend] was pretty good,” head coach Steve Houghton said.

This improvement can be attributed to the change in the style of play that Houghton pushes each day in practice. There is a lot of height on the team this year, and that makes more sense to have a more aggressive approach.

“We’re trying to, as a team, get guys to play up closer to the baseline. Which means they are in a more aggressive position to try to win points … particularly, the bigger guys need to be more aggressive,” he said. “We don’t want them doing a lot of running. They aren’t really equipped for that.”

The new tactic seems to fit; now, it is up to the players themselves to get acquainted with it.

“I think in the long run, once we become comfortable with [being aggressive], it will work out very well,” Swank said.

Assistant coach Ross Wilson is one new addition to the team who has helped make some of those changes.

“He brings a whole new dynamic, a whole new breath of fresh air,” Swank said. “Almost just a new perspective, a different way to look at the game, which has been much needed after these past two years.”

Senior Jonas Dierckx didn’t make the tournament over the weekend because he was preparing for the All-American tournament this coming weekend. However, he thinks there are changes in the air.

“The atmosphere on the courts and during practice is great so far,” he said.

Much of Houghton’s attention was focused on his two new players, freshman Nils Hallestrand and senior Brian Alden.

“I was really looking for the two new guys … I thought [Hallestrand] played really well,” he said. “I thought Brian [Alden] did a really good job in singles.”
Swank believes the tournament was a good start.

“The weekend went well overall for the team,” he said. “It’s the first fall tournament, so you don’t really know what to expect, but there’s definitely a lot of big differences in philosophies, which is good.”


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