By Will Potter
The No. 9 Baylor men’s tennis team looks to rebound from its first loss of the season as it takes on the unranked Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at 3 p.m. Friday at the Baylor Tennis Center. The No. 3 ranked women’s team looks to continue its winning ways as it hosts No. 60 ranked Alabama at 11 a.m. Saturday, also at the Baylor Tennis Center.
The men return to Waco after a tough loss against the No. 7 Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla. The Bears faced the Islanders last in 2009 where they swept the match 7-0 and dominated virtually every aspect on the court. Baylor is confident about their chances heading into this dual match.
“We just need to take care of business and not mess around and we should take the match pretty quickly,” senior Jordan Rux said.
Head coach Matt Knoll said the match will be good for his team.
“I think this match with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is a great chance for us to right the ship,” Knoll said.
After a big victory against the Houston Cougars last Friday, the Baylor women’s tennis team is looking to stay hot versus the Alabama Crimson Tide. Although the Lady Bears are ranked much higher than the Crimson Tide, they are not taking their opponent lightly.
“We have a very humble attitude around here and take every single opponent very seriously,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “Preseason rankings just don’t matter because they have top-10 talent and in my opinion they will be a seeded team going in to the NCAA tournament.”
The Lady Bears are confident in their preparation and Scrivano said that by perfecting the small details in practice and being fundamentally sound in match play, success will follow.
Despite having two of the top programs in the nation, the Baylor men’s and women’s tennis teams have not seen as much student body support as many other Baylor sports that have not had as much success. The Baylor men’s tennis team has won seven out of the last nine Big 12 Tournament championships and the NCAA National Championship in 2004. The Baylor women have won five consecutive Big 12 Tournament championships and are on the hunt for their sixth in a row.
Both teams encourage fan support, and all matches at the Baylor Tennis Center have free admission for students.
“Having fan support out there really improves the atmosphere at the match and it enhances everything we are doing here,” Scrivano said. “Our tennis teams have not gotten the recognition we deserve and that is unfortunate. We have some of the best tennis being played in the whole country at one of the best facilities in the nation,” Scrivano said.
Knoll encouraged fans by saying, “Plan to come out for 15 or 20 minutes to see if you like it and I bet that you will stick around to watch the whole match.”
Knoll also cleared up some common misconceptions about the NCAA tennis experience.
“It’s not like Wimbledon at all. It’s a rowdy atmosphere where you can get up out of your seat, cheer loud, talk to your friends and move around.”