The men’s tennis team (10-10, 3-2 Ivy) returns to Ithaca this week after a successful weekend on the road against Brown (8-16, 0-4) and Yale (12-10, 0-4), taking both matchups 4-1 and 5-2, respectively.
Head coach Silviu Tanasoiu was incredibly pleased with his team’s overall performance throughout the weekend.
“I didn’t think we played our best tennis, and that was very encouraging from my standpoint because we were able to find our way to a win in all those matches,” he said. “I felt like everyone contributed, either in doubles or singles. We handled the weekend very well as a team.”
Tanasoui mentioned the team had some challenges with the courts at Brown’s new facilities.
“It’s always a tough environment playing away — especially in their new facility,” he said. “There were four courts with surfaces faster than we’re used to.”
However, a major key in their success against the Bears was their strict mindset and focus on playing good, fundamental tennis, which was rooted in practices leading up to the matches.
“We didn’t let down our mindset,” Tanasoui said. “We stuck to our training and we were ready to face Brown. I thought we played very fundamental doubles to start off, and that carried through to the singles. We were very composed in critical components.”
Before this weekend, Tanasoui noted how “critical components,” or capitalizing on crucial points, were the main focus for the Red. Following a tight loss to Dartmouth at home, he stressed his team’s need to better capitalize in key scenarios.
Tanasoui liked how his team improved immensely in capitalizing, especially in the match against Yale, where five out of six singles matches went into third sets.
“I felt like the guys kept it strictly to tennis in those critical moments,” Tanasoui said. “They were focused on things they were able to accomplish, without trying to think about winning or losing. They kept focusing on tennis — we were very intentional in the moments that mattered in that match.”
Capitalization in those critical moments was essential in helping them scrape by with a win against the Bulldogs.
“It was an absolute battle from the first point to the very last one,” Tanasoui said. “Every single match was highly contested by both teams. I felt like it was a great college match. They were fighting their hearts out and so did we — fortunately we came out on top at the end.”
Perhaps the most impressive component of the team’s success thus far is that junior Colin Sinclair and freshman David Volfson have yet to drop a set against Ivy foes after being promoted to the No. 1 doubles position. Tanasoui attributes their success to solid fundamentals and a shared competitive drive.
“They stick to the fundamentals,” Tanasoiu said. “They focus on very simple things and they’re very good at executing. They’ve been very consistent in that way. I think they’re both extremely ambitious with very driven personalities. They match very well with what they’re trying to accomplish on the court.”
Sinclair also attributed his and Volfon’s success to their strict mental focus and chemistry playing with one another.
“We just try to go out there and do the right things,” said Sinclair. “It helps that we’ve played together for the whole year and so we know each other’s games well and can predict what shot the other will play.”
Going forward, the Red will face off with Penn (7-13, 2-2) at home for senior day this Friday. Sinclair mentioned that the Red cannot wait to continue their momentum from the past weekend and give graduating senior Stefan Vinti a win for his last match at home.
“[I am] very excited for senior day this weekend,” Sinclair said. “We only have one senior graduating so hopefully we can get him a win in his last home match.”
Vinti, like Sinclair and Volfson, has yet to drop a singles match against Ivy rivals so far this season and is currently on a six match winning streak. His performance is a result of his experience and drive to make the most out of his last year, Tanasoui mentioned.
“I think he has a sense of urgency,” Tanasoui said. “He truly wants to be at his best for the team. I think he’s changed over the years, and he can see that his heart and soul is invested in doing his best for the team.
Following senior day’s battle with the Quakers, the Red will hit the road for Princeton (14-8, 2-2) to face off with the Tigers on Sunday.