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Men’s tennis senior struggles between practicing hard, staying healthy

BY CHARLIE GREEN | SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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After winning his first two singles matches at the Purdue Fall Invitational, Iowa men’s tennis senior Andres Estenssoro looked as if he would advance to the semifinals of the Flight G singles bracket.

After building a solid lead against Marc Shideler of Western Michigan on Sept. 20, Estenssoro faced a setback he has become all too familiar with.

“I came running in and jumped up to return a shot,” Estenssoro said. “When I came down, I tried going one way, and my ankle went the other.”

Estenssoro was forced to withdraw from the match and the rest of his singles and doubles matches for the weekend after rolling his ankle.

“We waited a couple of minutes,” Estenssoro said. “I came back in and tried to serve, but when I put pressure on that ankle, it hurt too much to keep playing.”

The injury proved to be minor, and Estenssoro missed minimal practice time and was back on the court last weekend for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Injuries have been no stranger to Estenssoro recently. After missing all of last spring with an injury to a tendon in his wrist, the senior is toeing the line between staying healthy and constantly pushing himself in practice.

“It’s hard mentally because you want to be on the court,” he said. “You have to listen to the trainers; sometimes, it’s better to take a day or a week off.”

Injuries are an obstacle for athletes of any sport, and others on the Iowa men’s tennis team are no exception. In his freshman season, junior Dominic Patrick missed time with a slight tear in his abdomen.

“It’s really tough because you tend to do things on the court when you come back that are going to be similar to how you got hurt,” he said. “You’re going to be cautious at first to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and you get nervous going into those situations.”

As two of the more experienced players on the team, Patrick and Estenssoro figure to have big roles for the team when dual play starts in the spring.

“When you’re playing in a conference like the Big Ten, you play a tough schedule,” interim coach Ross Wilson said. “No one’s at 100 percent; we just need guys to be mature about treating and preventing injuries.”

The line between practicing hard and maintaining health can be a thin one for coaches as well as players, as Wilson has learned in his short time as the team’s head coach.

When freshman Lefteris Theodorou was seemingly recovered from mononucleosis a few weeks back, Wilson held him out on the advice of the team doctors.

“They didn’t want any relapses in his condition, even though he looked all right,” Wilson said. “We kept him out probably another 10 days, and now he’s back to full health. That’s why they’re doctors, they know what’s best.”

Sleeping, icing, resting, dieting, and listening to the advice of trainers, however, will only get an athlete so far.

“We come here and practice hard, injuries happen, “ Estenssoro said. “Some things you just can’t prevent even if you do everything right.

Follow @CharlsGreen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s tennis team.


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