By Allison Hamila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 6, 2005
It will be a one-man show for the Arizona men's tennis team this weekend in Tulsa, Okla., and the Wildcats are sending their best man for the job.
Senior Roger Matalonga is the only Arizona athlete traveling to the ITA Men's All-American tournament that starts today and runs through Sunday.
Although it is only Matalonga's first tournament of the fall season, it should prove to be one of his most important events of the semester.
Many of the best men's singles players in the country are chosen to participate. With Matalonga heading into his fourth and final season as a standout performer with the Wildcats, it could be a chance to add a substantial entry to his Arizona tennis legacy.
In last year's tournament, Matalonga fell in the first round, and both he and men's tennis head coach Tad Berkowitz said they are hoping for a better run this year.
"He is ready to get going," Berkowitz said. "Being a senior, it will be his last opportunity."
The Arizona men's tennis team has not produced an All-America singles player in nearly 10 years. Matalonga was named an All-American last year in doubles competition with departed partner Colin O'Grady.
Matalonga said that his main goal for the year is to break the Wildcats' All-America streak, but he also hopes to help the team in whatever capacity he can.
"I want to help the team win as many doubles points as possible," he said.
Matalonga said that in the offseason he focused on conditioning and working on his stroke and return. He also addressed the mental part of his game.
"I want to have more fun and take the pressure off of myself," he said. "I put too much pressure on myself."
Berkowitz said that regardless of how Matalonga's final season turns out, he will go down as one of the best players Arizona has ever had.