Two Jumbos, sophomore Garrett Weinstein and senior Jay Glickman, came away with the C and D singles crowns respectively this past weekend at the Middlebury Invitational.
“Obviously, Jay won his flight, so he’s playing very well, [and] every time a player wins a tournament, that’s a big deal; it’s not something we take for granted,” senior tri-captain Rob Jacobson said. “It’s important to recognize when we do have good results, we also take it with a grain of salt…and just make sure everyone’s getting better every day.”
Glickman, while happy with his first performance of the fall, agreed that he needed some perspective on his win.
“Leading up to the tournament this weekend, I worked extremely hard to ensure I was in a good position to compete, and ultimately I was happy with the result,” Glickman said. “That being said, it’s the first tournament of the year and there’s still a lot of work to put in throughout the rest of the fall to make sure we have a successful spring season.”
Glickman recorded another easy 6-4, 6-0 win over Skidmore’s Ted Berkowitz, while Weinstein defeated sophomore teammate Danny Coran in an all-Jumbo final, 6-1, 6-0.
“Garrett’s been playing good tennis as of late. He put in a lot of work over the summer and it definitely showed this weekend,” Glickman said. “He was able to outlast his opponents during points, he does a good job of staying in the match and making a lot of [returns], and that’s frustrating for the people he plays.”
During the fall season, the team competes in invitational tournaments, such as the Middlebury Invitational this past weekend, where the A flight is generally for the No. 1 and 2 players, B flight is for the No. 3 and 4, and so forth, depending on how many players the team has.
“The fall season is more to get a sense of where our game is at, [and] a lot of it has to do with individual results, guys trying to get national rankings,” Jacobson said. “It’s more of an individual-minded season.”
The team is preparing for the spring season, in which the roster is arranged into a lineup of nine matches — six singles and three doubles –– and schools are pitted against one another. While the fall schedule ensures that new players get some valuable college playing time and returning players shake off some of the rust from the summer, Jacobson argues that the lineup this past weekend has little or no bearing on the team lineup for the spring.
“[The fall season] is for the coach to keep a finger on the pulse, [see] how everyone’s playing,” Jacobson said. “These tournaments are more for experience. They can have implications on our lineup in the spring, but everything can change. It’s more about who’s playing well in the spring. Whoever is playing in which draw doesn’t necessarily correlate with the lineup in the spring.”
The Jumbos are coming off their most successful spring season in recent years. They beat Williams, a team they never thought they could beat, and long-time assistant coach Karl Gregor was hired recently as their new head coach.
“Karl [Gregor] just brings the mentality to the team that we’re going to be the hardest-working team in the conference, and everyone really buys into that … That’s kind of been an attitude he’s brought, and it’s really contagious and everyone’s very excited to be innovative and creative and just come up with new ways to improve,” Jacobson said. “He’s really brought a new energy to the team and a new culture that’s really revolved around enjoying tennis and working hard.”
The team’s newest coaching addition, Christo Schultz, is a recent graduate of the Harvard tennis program.
“He has the energy to tolerate us and steer us in the right direction,” senior tri-captain Nick Cary said. “It’s not just about all energy all the time, but kind of needing to regroup and be your own agent — and he’s the go-to guy.”
In addition to the strong singles play last weekend, junior Ben Battle and Cary competed in A flight doubles, making it all the way to the title match before losing 8-6 to McKinley Grimes and Sherman Uyeno from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Glickman and his partner, fresh-faced first-year Ethan Chen, lost 8-6 in the B doubles to Lucas Pickering and Steven Koulouris from Skidmore College.
“We had never played together before…but overall we had good chemistry on the court. He covers the net very well,” Glickman said. “For him, it’s his first year and he definitely has a bright future [with] Tufts tennis.”
The team also has three new first-years who, while unlikely to jump directly into the starting lineup, look to challenge and motivate the returning starters to improve as they settle into the Tufts tennis program.
“This is going to be the best men’s tennis team in a really long time, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Jacobson said.
Tufts returns to action this weekend at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association New England Regional, hosted by Williams, and will be looking to further the strong forward momentum that was kick-started by their stellar performances last spring.
“[The thing to look out for] is going to [be] the progression and maturity that we’re going to have this year compared to last year,” Cary said. “Last year we made strides in terms of performances and skill but this year…you’re going to see a tougher, more energized group.”