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UCLA men’s tennis to finish regular season with matches against Utah, UC San Diego

Members of UCLA men’s tennis clench their fists in celebration after a point. The crew will take on its final two regular season matches this weekend. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men's Tennis


Utah
Friday, 2 p.m.

George S. Eccles Tennis Center
Utah Live Stream
UC San Diego
Sunday, 12 p.m.

Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA Tennis-1

By Chloe Agas

April 18, 2024 12:45 p.m.

Tennis is not just a sport that requires physical endurance – it also challenges the ability to adapt to diverse environments.

This weekend, that means playing further above sea level than usual.

“The following matches are going to be tricky,” said sophomore Gianluca Ballotta. “Especially Utah, because we are playing with altitudes. We will focus on serves and returns to adjust to it.”

Following home victories over No. 20 Stanford and crosstown rival USC, No. 23 UCLA men’s tennis (12-6, 4-2, Pac-12) is back on the road to face Utah (3-17, 0-6) on Friday before returning back home to meet UC San Diego (9-15, 2-2) on Sunday. After facing the Utes and Tritons this weekend, the Bruins will have completed their regular season slate – their last in the Pac-12.

Redshirt senior Govind Nanda, who propelled his doubles winning streak to five Tuesday, said emphasizing physical and mental care is crucial prior to the weekend.

“I hope to take care of the body and take care of the mind,” the co-captain said. “Focusing on the things we can control day to day and keep trying to improve and play with good intentions on the court.”

Billy Martin echoed Nanda’s sentiment – the coach said maintaining optimal health is crucial for the team’s final regular season games.

His squad’s bout against Utah on Friday serves as a revenge-seeking opportunity, as the Salt Lake City crew knocked the Bruins out of contention after the first round of last year’s Pac-12 championships. The tournament loss came just five days after UCLA fell 4-3 to Utah in the teams’ regular season matchup.

“Everything’s coming to a head – knock on wood, no injuries,” Martin said. “That’s what’s bugged us for the last two to three years. We’ve lost good players, but we seem to be healthy and keeping everybody able to step out and play on a day-to-day basis.”

UCLA boasts an 11-3 all-time record against Utah and 3-0 against UCSD. Friday’s match against the former fosters an opportunity for UCLA to snap an ongoing losing streak that dates back to April 2022.

Back at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Sunday, the Bruins have a home court advantage against the Tritons – an opportunity to extend a three-match winning streak.

“Confidence breeds confidence,” Martin said. “Winning breeds that.”

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