Coming off of back-to-back dominant victories, which went a long way to assuage early season concerns about the UCLA men’s tennis team, the No. 6 Bruins are prepared for a major increase in competition on the heels of the National Indoor Qualifying Tournament, which will be held this weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The tournament is the qualifier for the National Indoor Tournament, which will be held in Seattle in February, and serves as one of the most important tournaments of the year.
The first test which UCLA (2-0) will face is on Friday when they face No. 33 Minnesota (1-0). This second match, should the Bruins advance, will be against the winner between No. 27 Florida State and No. 28 Fresno State, and should provide their strongest test of the season thus far.
“I don’t know too much about Minnesota, but I know that Florida State is a very good team as well as Fresno State”, coach Billy Martin said. “Luckily we don’t have to face both Fresno State and Florida State, but we should get a good chance to watch them on Friday. I never want to look too far ahead, but if we can get by Minnesota, we are going to have a battle on our hands on Saturday.”
Should the Bruins be able to move past Minnesota on Friday, they would take on a team laden with talent, specifically in the case of Florida State. The Seminoles boast the No. 27 ranked player in the nation in Clint Bowles as well as No. 42 Vahad Mirzadeh.
Senior Holden Seguso stressed the importance of this qualifying tournament saying that it set the stage for one of the team’s most important tournaments of the year.
“The National Indoors is our best traveling trip,” Seguso said. “If we do qualify this weekend, we get to fly up to Washington and really enjoy the trip up there, so we are definitely motivated to come out and win this weekend. I think we have a good chance to do so.”
Given the dominant start for the Bruins in their first two matches, there has been little cause for concern. With tougher teams coming up on the schedule there will be strong tests ahead.
“Always things are great if you are winning,” Martin said with an air of caution. “The prognosis is good right now. I’ve liked what I have seen so far, but we can’t get overconfident”.
“We are ready to come out tomorrow and work”, freshman Daniel Kosakowski said after defeating UCSB on Tuesday. “We are all excited for this weekend, and hopefully we will do well.”