Badgers return all 7 starters

first_imgComing off a successful spring campaign, the University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team is eagerly anticipating the fall season, which begins today at the Cincinnati Invitational.The Badgers return every player from last year’s roster, as well as second-year coach Greg Van Emburgh, who turned the Badgers from Big Ten cellar-dweller to a potential Big Ten contender in just one season.Although expectations are high and players are excited, Van Emburgh stressed the true purpose of the fall season.”I’m just concerned about getting better and our guys improving,” Van Emburgh said. “Spring is the most important part, those are the conference matches. The fall is about getting ourselves ready physically and mentally.”In addition to returning every player from last year, the team has one other distinct advantage from a year ago, when Van Emburgh was just getting acquainted with his new team. “When I started last year, I was feeling my way around with the guys and the team. It was a new system and a new regimen,” Van Emburgh said.Unfortunately, the new season will have to begin with UW’s top two players on the bench. Juniors Nolan Polley and Jeremy Sonkin are fighting through nagging shoulder and elbow injuries and will sit out for at least this weekend.No. 74 Polley and No. 80 Sonkin are the only two ranked players on the team and combine to form the 38th-ranked doubles team in the country. UW was originally scheduled to split up the team and take part in the Baylor Intercollegiate as well as the Cincinnati Invitational but backed out of the former as a result of the injuries.”I think that right now the most important thing is that they’re taking care of themselves and getting healthy for not only the fall, but also the spring,” Van Emburgh said, stressing that either player could play if he needed to, and that neither injury was serious. “We want to make sure that when our guys play, they’re 100 percent healthy.”While Polley and Sonkin will be out, captain and lone senior Lachezar Kasarov will have to step up and lead this weekend. “All three of those guys are who you form the program around,” Van Emburgh said. “They’re going to play higher, and they’re going to set the tone for the season.”If last season was any indication, Kasarov, who was co-captain along with Sonkin, will have his team ready to play.”I’m really excited for this weekend,” Van Emburgh said. “We’ve been practicing for a little over two weeks, so I think it’s going to be a test to see where we are.”As for the rest of the season? “All of our guys, even the new guys, are improving and getting stronger every single day,” Van Emburgh said. “We’re going to have a good fall and a successful year. Our goal is to be at the top tier of the Big Ten and make the NCAAs, and nothing short of that.”last_img

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