North Texas Daily

Tennis ends preseason on a strong note as spring season approaches

Tennis ends preseason on a strong note as spring season approaches

Tennis ends preseason on a strong note as spring season approaches
January 12
21:24 2021

The Mean Green tennis team finished off its last warm-up tournament before the spring season at the TCU Invitational.

With strong competition from big-name schools such as TCU and Texas A&M, the team was able to capture two double wins and nine single wins at the invite. Head coach Sujay Lama said he was impressed with how smoothly the preseason and the tournament went.

“The preseason week of training and competition could not have gone better for us,” Lama said. “Everyone competed at a very high level.”

Junior Lucier Devier won two matches and nearly won her third match against Tatiana Makarova, the highest-ranked player at A&M. She eventually lost in a third-set tiebreaker. Senior Nidhi Surapaneni had the same record as Devier, also losing her only match in the third set. Despite not winning all of their matches, Lama expressed his pride in their effort and progression from the fall season.

“The work Nidhi and Lucie put in off-season showed up in their inspiring performances,” Lama said.  “Both of them had big wins against strong opponents.”

Surapaneni expressed a similar sentiment stating how happy she was with the improvements in her game and the competitiveness of her matches.

“I am very happy with my results,” Surapaneni said. “The work I put in during last semester and the winter break really showed up on the court.”

Surapaneni highlighted her work with assistant coach Rodrigo de Almeida in the offseason as being crucial in improving her footwork and ability to strike the ball effectively with the right balance.

“In the preseason we were working on a few footwork drills and implementing those drills during matches has helped me a lot, especially on the backhand side,” Surapaneni said. “I’m hitting more backhands with topspin now, while last year I sliced a lot of my backhands.”

Lama was also impressed with freshman Saki Oyama and sophomore Kexuan Zhao, who both also collected two singles wins.

“Saki competed well and is getting comfortable with college tennis,” Lama said. “When she is invested she is a force to be reckoned with. Kexuan showed a glimpse of what she is capable of. She is capable of becoming an impact player. Overall, it was a great preseason week of training that culminated into a great tournament.”

As the season opener draws near, Surapaneni has stated her eagerness to start what may be the toughest schedule in her four years of playing, having to play the powerhouse UT Austin for the first match of the season. However, she is making sure to keep her mindset calm and collected in order to not get ahead of herself.

“I just tell myself to take it one point at a time, one match at a time, one day at a time,” Surapaneni said.

Featured Image: Junior Nedhi Surapaneni hits the ball across the net during the UNT v. La Tech Tennis match on Feb. 14, 2020. Image by Ryan Cantrell

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Caleb Yum

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