Wildcats faced tough year despite ills

By Steve Fanucchi

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Now that the regular season is over, the UA men's tennis team is about to embark on its biggest journey of the year.

The Wildcats will try to make their presence known when they return to the regional tournament for the second consecutive year a fortunate trip when you consider a dismal season in which the Wildcats went 7-15 overall and failed to earn a Pacific 10 Conference win for the first time in school history.

"Making the regionals is like a fresh start for us and a new season," Anderson said, adding that "the Pac-10 is the best and toughest conference by far."

The Wildcats had great expectations going into this year, as well as a solid mix of youth and experience. However, everyone on the team was stricken with injuries or illness at one point in the season or another.

The Wildcats had one advantage this year, in Jan Anderson, their No. 1 player. Anderson began the year ranked sixth nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, but missed three matches trying out for the Norwegian Davis Cup team and saw limited action during a bout with chicken pox.

Anderson continued to play, but struggled all year up until late when he has been playing his best tennis of the year.

Anderson compiled 24 victories this year against 16 losses nine more than he suffered last season. Anderson had accumluated more matches this year and insisted that he not get burned out for the regional championships.

"We had a tough year, a lot of injuries, sickness and some bad luck because we had some very close matches that we could have very easily won," Anderson said.

The atmosphere around the tennis team is sort of a mellow one. Everyone insisted that the season is over and a new beginning will occur when the regionals come around.

Chris Jenkins and Edward Schwartz played the most consistent tennis for the Wildcats. Jenkins had more victories than any others he had earned in any other season, accumulating 13.

"I had a great year for myself, I played solid all year long and had a lot of good wins," said Jenkins, who moved up three spots over the course of the season. "In some ways, I am kind of surprised that I am not ranked right now."

Schwartz had a streak of five straight wins in dual matches and won a career-high 17 matches.

Schwartz also teamed up with Anderson as the best duo in doubles for the Wildcats they were 10-5 in dual matches.

The Wildcats' heads were in it throughout the year, but they could never find their consistency.

"Although we had a tough year, the effort was there, and it was fun and everyone worked very hard," Jenkins said.

The close losses throughout the year wore on some of the players and they became depressed.

Senior Sten Sumberg (10-12) will end his career with the Wildcats this year.

Freshman Roland Kupka struggled early on, but came back to win the last two dual matches he played in and will be a force on the team next year.

"We are going to be so tough next year," Jenkins said, "and at the same time this year is not over."

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