The UCSB men’s tennis team will finish up their fall schedule at home this weekend with the UCSB Classic, a four-team tournament that will run from Friday to Sunday and feature players from Santa Barbara, Westmont, Loyola Marymount and UC San Diego. After the tournament is complete, the Gauchos will not see action again until they travel to Pepperdine on Jan. 22. After playing two grueling road tournaments in a row — the six-day-long ITA Regionals two weeks ago and the five-day Southern California Intercollegiate Championships last week — the three-day home tournament will almost be like a vacation for the Gauchos.
“The weather is going to be perfect,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We’ve got seven guys competing and it’s always easier to play at home.”
The tournament will consist of both singles and doubles brackets, each broken up into Flights. In singles, junior Matheiu Forget will represent UCSB in the A Flight, while senior Taylor Chavez Goggin, senior Evan Jurgensen, sophomore Max Glenn and freshman Axel Bouillin with play in the B, C, D and E Flights, respectively, and both junior Alex Johnson and freshman Adam Luba will play in the F Flight. The tournament will be played in a round robin format, meaning that every player in each Flight will face every other player in that flight, which Davis believes will be good for his younger players.
“It gives some of our younger guys a sense of what it’s going to be like to play in a duel match even though it’s a flighted round robin,” Davis said.
Though this tournament offers a reprieve from travel and lengthy competitions, it is not any less important. For the Gauchos competing in this tournament, how they play will determine their individual roles on the team when play resumes in the winter.
“I think all the guys feel pressure,” Davis said. “Our team is very balanced and this is their last chance this fall to make the starting lineup.”
Only three members of the team will not compete. Senior Philip Therp is still injured, and Davis and his coaching staff have decided to leave sophomore Benjamin Recknagel and senior Alex Konigsfeldt off the roster for this weekend.
“We feel like they’ve done enough both last year and this fall to know that they’re going to be starters for us,” Davis said.
One thing in particular that Davis will be looking for out of his players is consistent serving, which has been a problem for the Gauchos in the past and hurt both Recknagel and Konigsfeldt at the ITA Regionals and at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships.
“[Serving] is something we’ve been focusing on [in practice],” Davis said. “The serve is the single most important shot in tennis.”
The tournament will also feature three flights of doubles teams. Forget and Chavez Goggin will play in the A Flight, while teams of Jurgensen and Bouillin and of Glenn and Johnson will play in the B and C Flights, respectively. Doubles play has also been a problem for UCSB thus far. Though Recknagel and Konigsfeldt will likely continue to be a pair when play resumes, beyond that Davis is not sure what his other doubles team will look like.
“We haven’t seen anything that makes me feel like we have any set pairings,” Davis said. “This is an opportunity for these teams to prove if they should be together.”
Santa Barbara will take the court at 2 p.m. on Friday, and will do the same on both Saturday and Sunday as well. The tournament will take place on the Rob Gym tennis courts.