Getting Started: The Arizona men’s tennis team opens the 2006 season with six consecutive matches at home. They begin the season against Montana State University, on Friday, Jan. 27. First serve is set for 2 p.m. at the Tucson Racquet Club. Arizona is scheduled to have its second match against University of New Mexico, on Saturday, Jan. 28. First serve is set for Noon at the Tucson Racquet Club.
Perfect at Home: Arizona has won its last six-consective home openers. Its last loss in a home opener came in 1999 against Fresno State when the Wildcats were swept.
Scouting Montana State: The Bobcats return five men from last year’s squad as well as adding two new members. The team finished first in the Big Sky Conference and ended the year with a 19-7 record. They start off this season ranked No. 69.
Scouting New Mexico: The Lobos return four men from last year’s squad that finished the season 9-8 as well as adding three new members. Wildcat players faced off with Lobos five times during the fall season going 2-3 overall.
Series History: This is the first meeting between Arizona and Montana State. This is the 39th meeting between the Wildcats and Lobos. Arizona is 31-7 all-time in the series. Last season’s match up between the two teams was called off due to inclement weather.
Starting It Off: Heading into the 2006 season, the Arizona men’s tennis team is looking to improve on last year’s 8-12 record and final ranking of No. 55. The team will be led by first-year head coach Tad Berkowitz. The team returns eight letterwinners from last season including two seniors, one junior and five sophomores, as well as one redshirt freshman. The fall season was successful for the Wildcats with five players posting winning records. It was an opportunity for Arizona’s younger players to get experience before starting the spring season. The team looks to use leadership and experience from its three seniors to build on last season.
Fall Finishers: Redshirt freshman Peter Zimmer led the Wildcats with a 10-4 record in the fall including a win streak of six matches. Roger Matalonga and Claudio Christen also had a solid showing in the fall season going 9-4 and 8-3, respectively. Three pairs posted winning records for Arizona in the fall. Daniel Andrus was a part of two of those pairs that included Matalonga and Francois VanderMerwe. Christen and Zimmer made up the third pair.
Wildcats in the Rankings: Arizona begins the spring season ranked No. 55. Matalonga is ranked No. 18 in singles, the highest single’s ranking of his career. Matalonga and Andrus begin the season ranked at No. 26 as a pair.
Stacked Pac: The Pac-10 will be difficult again this year with five teams beginning the season ranked in the top 25. UCLA is the defending national champion and is led by Benjamin Kohlloeffel’s No. 3 singles ranking. Along with UCLA, Stanford, Washington and Arizona open the spring season with both a singles and doubles pair ranked.
Home Court Advantage: Arizona’s schedule this season includes 15 home matches. All but one of their non-conference matches will be played in Tucson. Seven of these matches will be against teams that finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings last season.
Next Week: Arizona will return to the LaNelle Robson Tennis Court to face UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Feb. 3 and the University of Pacific on Sunday, Jan. 5.