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Silverstein finding niche in doubles for men’s tennis

BY CHARLIE GREEN | OCTOBER 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa men’s tennis freshman Josh Silverstein came to Iowa City as a five-star recruit with a history of success in doubles play during his high-school years.

His success in doubles has continued in college with two impressive tournaments this fall.

“Coming in he had been a really strong doubles player,” interim head coach Ross Wilson said. “You never know how well the doubles game in the juniors is going to translate into the doubles game in college, but in every tournament we’ve played, he’s been able to put together wins.”

Silverstein’s success at the junior level included five U.S. Tennis Association National Open doubles championships. In his first tournament as a Hawkeye, Silverstein and junior Dominic Patrick reached the semifinal of the main draw in the black bracket at the Princeton Invitational last month.

“I’ve always been good in doubles,” Silverstein said. “I play smart and get loud, I think I can really help this team out in doubles going forward.”

Silverstein and fellow freshman Jake Jacoby made a run to the quarterfinals in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Tournament before losing to a duo from Minnesota, 8-5.

“As a doubles pair, they’re tough,” Patrick said. “Jacoby’s always a fierce competitor, and Josh is starting to show how great of a player he can be.”

Although Silverstein has had success in doubles, the same results have not been there in singles. Still transitioning into the college game, he’s been working on making changes in practice.

“Like all great players, he’s a little stubborn and stuck in his ways,” Wilson said. “But he’s learning that if he wants to win, he’s got to make certain changes, and he’s staring to embrace that.”

Silverstein is in the process of developing a more effective forehand, whereas before he relied heavily on his backhand. Wilson has also seen improvement in the lefty’s serve.

“At this point, we want to make sure all of those changes are getting into his game and working at the same time,” Wilson said. “Josh has a great work ethic and loves tennis — those are the things that will take him far in the sport.”

The season is young, as is Silverstein’s career at Iowa. And the freshman from Great Neck, New York, is not about to give up on his prospects in singles play for the spring.

“I need to step into my forehand more,” Silverstein said. “I have a big backhand and can grind with my forehand — I’m working on being more offensive.”

The team will travel to Minneapolis this weekend for the Big Ten indoor championships, in which Silverstein will get his first taste of Big Ten competition.

A couple of months removed from junior play, Silverstein is still learning about the jump to the college level.

“People serve a lot bigger here,” Silverstein said. “In juniors, I was always good at returning serves, but here a guy like Matt Hagan can hit two aces a game. It’s a big adjustment.”

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


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