This week, sophomore Mackenzie McDonald and freshman Martin Redlicki will be traveling to Flushing Meadows, N.Y. to participate in the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
At the tournament, McDonald will play singles against 31 other college athletes from all over the country. Redlicki will play doubles with McDonald against 19 other collegiate doubles teams from across the nation.
McDonald and Redlicki have been participating in tournaments throughout the fall, except this one is a little different. McDonald and Redlicki had to receive an invitation, which they earned by winning titles in the USTA/ITA Southwest Regionals. This tournament carries more weight because of what it took to get there and the increased level of competition.
McDonald actually sat out last weekend’s Southern California Intercollegiate Championships to rest up and to practice certain parts of his game to get ready for this tournament.
“I am going in to win,” McDonald said. “(It’s about) just being aggressive and finding my game. I have been working on a lot of things, my forehand and serve in particular. I feel if I do all this my results will show.”
Now having played in California for a while, McDonald and Redlicki haven’t gotten much experience on indoor courts, where the play is noticeably different than on outdoor courts.
“(On) indoor courts the ball moves like 10 times faster than it does on outdoor courts,” Redlicki said. “The points are a lot quicker.”
To adjust to these differences, both Redlicki and McDonald are arriving two days before the tournament to get a good amount of practice time on the courts. During these two days they plan on making the final tweaks to their game and continuing to grow as a doubles team.
McDonald and Redlicki believe that their styles of play complement each other for doubles and will be enough to lead them to a strong showing at this tournament.
“I think the fact that (Redlicki) and I are complete opposites, or as he says polar opposites, helps a lot,” McDonald said. “I am fast and agile. He puts a lot of balls away and has a big serve. He is lefty and I am righty. I think the differences between us really help.”
Redlicki added, “As a doubles team I feel that we are dominant at the net. We are both strong volleyers.”
Coach Billy Martin has been happy with the way his players have performed in the past couple of tournaments and hopes they maintain the same intensity in this tournament and the ones to follow. His goal is that all this match experience in fall will help them improve before the regular season starts.
“These individual tournaments are great for us because it has the guys play under pressure situations, and we find out what holds up and what’s breaking down,” Martin said.
The tournament starts on Thursday, Nov. 6 and goes till Sunday, Nov. 9.