Although the men’s tennis team’s first spring match is nearly eight weeks away, that doesn’t mean the players have completely packed up until next semester.
The Golden Eagles will be focusing on conditioning and getting into optimal physical form for the season opener Jan. 19 at Notre Dame. Coach Steve Rodecap is hoping his players will take advantage of the time off during winter break to fine-tune various skills.
“There’s a lot of self-motivation that goes behind it, because we only have control over them for a certain amount of time,” Rodecap said. “You have to be very self-motivated and disciplined to be able to be successful because it’s not only what (the coaches) do, but it’s also about what they do when they walk away for these break periods.”
Players have been hitting the weights three times per week, and Rodecap said this plus other exercises over the break will only benefit a team that dealt with several injuries this fall.
“A lot of it is physical,” he said. “The year gets pretty long, so this initial part is trying to recover a little bit from some injuries that we’ve had. There were a few guys who came out of the fall pretty banged up.”
Junior Dan Mamalat had to cope with an injury at the beginning of the fall season, but he is more concerned with how the team will collectively prepare.
“Our biggest focus is getting stronger, getting faster and just getting our tennis game ready for peak performance as soon as Jan. 19 comes around,” Mamalat said. “We’re trying to work towards peaking at that time so we can (maintain that) peak during the season.”
Rodecap said the team will begin evaluating Notre Dame a few days before the match, but noted that it’s difficult in tennis to scout because players sometimes don’t know who they’re facing until the day of the match.
Sophomore Cameron Tehrani is looking forward to transitioning from the fall schedule, which was heavily individual-based, to the spring slate, which emphasizes the team effort.
“I expect a lot out of myself and the team,” Tehrani said. “We’ll put six guys out there who’ll be ready to play, and hopefully they’ll bring their best game every single match.”
Dykema signs for next fall
The team announced Monday it has signed Nick Dykema for next fall. Dykema, a local talent who attended West DePere High School near Green Bay, had a 78-13 record in varsity play. Rodecap wants him to be an instant contributor next year.
“The thing I love about Nick is that he’s really, really committed,” Rodecap said. “He wants to be a really good player. He’s a self-motivated guy; he’s very disciplined on and off the court and I think he’s going to have a big impact. When that impact is felt, we don’t know. I’m hoping it’s going to be immediate.”
Dykema will have four years of eligibility at Marquette. Players aren’t quite familiar with how he plays just yet, but they will hold him to the high expectations Marquette tennis has demanded over the years.
“We’re excited about it, but still, we expect him to be good,” Tehrani said. “If we didn’t think he was going to be an impact player right off the bat, I don’t think Coach would have brought him in. I hope he’s working hard, which I’m sure he is, and hopefully he’s ready to play college tennis next fall.”