The Mean Green tennis team finished off a shortened fall schedule by playing in the ITA Central Regional championship. Overall, the team came out of it with a combined record of 9-8 in singles and 3-2 in doubles.
The regional tournament is an annual event that normally occurs in multiple states. However, due to COVID-19, nearly all of the regionals were canceled including the one in Texas. Due to the team’s recent success, it allowed them to be invited to the central regional tournament in Arkansas.
“We were very lucky and we made the most out of it,” Lama said. “This experience, especially for the three newcomers, is irreplaceable.”
While the players fell short of winning the championship, Lama had high praise about the performances he saw from the team during the tournament.
“Overall it was a really productive weekend,” Lama said. “I think the great thing was the improvement we made throughout the weekend. I’m pleased with the way they handled their play.”
Senior Nidhi Surapaneni lost in the round of 32 and the round of 16, both times falling to the No. 1 seed of the draw. Despite losing, Surapaneni expressed that she was proud that the results of her practice showed up in her play against tough opponents.
“I have been working on my fitness and on my game, and I felt that I saw the results in this tournament,” Surapaneni said. “I feel very happy about my tennis and I want to keep working hard to keep improving.”
Other results included junior Lucie Devier and freshman Saki Oyama reaching the consolation quarterfinals in singles. Freshman Matilda Magrini also made the consolation round of 16, narrowly losing in a third set 10-point tiebreaker.
Surapaneni plans on putting in some more work with the Mean Green coaching staff before Thanksgiving break arrives in order to better prepare for the spring.
“I’m going to continue doing conditioning, weight lifting and tennis,” Surapaneni said. “I’m also going to continue working with coach Rodrigo on my footwork. I think that’s going to help me a lot for the spring.”
Lama said the important thing to note is that the team is closer to the top than the scores show. Despite the promise shown this season, he does believe that the team must get better at winning the important points.
“There were chances and a lot of openings that we could’ve taken advantage of,” Lama said. “However, we weren’t able to make it work.”
Lama believes if the team is able to fix this problem and improve during the four-week offseason, big opportunities will be on the horizon.
“If we maximize everyone’s potential on our team, we have a legitimate chance to make the NCAA’s and win a championship,” Lama said.
Featured Image: UNT tennis gets ready moments before the first round of the UNT vs. LA Tech match on Feb. 14, 2020. Image by Ryan Cantrell