Baylor men’s tennis looks for experience at ITA Texas Regional Championship

Then-freshman Zsombor Velcz locks his eyes on the ball and swings his racket during Baylor men's tennis' second match of a doubleheader, with the nightcap coming against Texas Tech on April 1 at the Hurd Tennis Center. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

After a week of training, Baylor men’s tennis will head up Interstate 35 to TCU in Fort Worth for the ITA DI Texas Regional Championship at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, starting Thursday and running through Tuesday.

The Bears came home after opening the semester with two of the biggest individual tournaments in college tennis, and the road doesn’t get any easier, according to head coach Michael Woodson.

Woodson said the squad is playing a strenuous schedule to prepare for team competition come spring.

“I see a huge positive and a huge opportunity with this group,” Woodson said. “They can achieve some pretty special things in the spring, but we need to address the things that we already know they struggle with. We do know where we’re falling short, and we know where the potential lies. It’s just a matter of getting after it every single day.”

With a week of recovery and training, each individual was able to look back at their matches early on in the season and find ways to improve. The Regional Championship will be a familiar setting for Baylor, as players such as sophomores Zsombor Velcz and Luc Koenig will take on similar high-quality talent they were pitted against in prior tournaments.

“​​I have some good memories from my freshman year,” Velcz said. “I hope I can do better this season and compete in even bigger tournaments. I have really high expectations for myself. I saw these guys in the last two tournaments. That’s why I’m pushing myself to play well and do well at this tournament.”

Woodson said the event will not only give the Bears an opportunity to take on top-tier talent but also reason with potential downswings. Woodson stressed the importance of seeing how his players handle the setbacks across the season and chose not to get discouraged when results don’t fall in the intended direction.

“Many of these guys, they know where they want to go, but they haven’t experienced the success themselves, at least in a college setting,” Woodson said. “Multiple guys are going to go out and want to win regionals. Well, only one of the guys is going to win, and maybe none of them. We have the hardest region in the country, so how they handle that and then quickly rebound and get back to work will be important.”

The tournament will open with two rounds of qualifying singles on Thursday along with main singles and doubles matches on Friday. Bears that top the charts will come back for the quarterfinals on Sunday, followed by the semifinal and championship matches in the following days. Victors will earn a spot in the ITA Fall National Championships, scheduled for November, in San Diego.