Oct. 25, 2005
The 2006 men’s tennis team faces many opportunities. Clemson Head Coach Chuck Kriese thinks these opportunities could include a successful season resulting in a successful season against a challenging schedule.
“There is no greater burden than a great opportunity,” said Kriese, who is entering his 31st season at Clemson. “We have the opportunity to have something very special this spring.
“We have had three consecutive 25 wins seasons and a final eight appearance two years ago. This has set the appetite and raised the bar where it should be for Clemson tennis. We have everyone back except for Nathan Thompson and we have all the other ingredients, which brings excitement and breeds great expectations.”
Clemson has five starters and seven letter winners returning from a 25-11 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The only graduation loss on the team was ACC Player of the Year and All-American Nathan Thompson.
“I am approaching this year with a lot excitement and great enthusiasm,” said Kriese. I stress to the team that the work has to be done in the preseason, everything has to be in place with what we can control before the season starts.
“It’s very simple, we will do the work, we will prepare and do what it takes to be successful, because the expectations year in and year out are high for Clemson Tennis. As a team, we must take on the burden of living up to the high expectations of our program.
“Assistant Coach Chuck McCuen and I have been working hard to teach the team to be committed to be all they can be on and off the court. They must be compliant to the game and to their schoolwork, and they must be committed to do what it takes to be successful in both worlds, in another words carry the great weight of responsibility of great expectations.
“Process over product is another issue we talk about a great deal. We emphasize to our players to take care of what you can control, and do the right than, preparing step by step. The product is being successful and that will come if we are committed to the process of doing the right things. This fall we are building a strong and deep foundation.
“We have good examples to follow with great players and a solid, successful program in the past.
“We are looking forward to the spring and we think it could be a wonderful spring. How wonderful? This will be determined by the need and want of the guys to take care of the responsibility of our expectations and the burden of our opportunity.
“We improved the schedule this year and our philosophy is we believe we must go against the best–association breeds assimilation. In another words, you become who you hang around with. Tennis is a tournament sport and by the end of the season, our team will have seen everything. There will be no surprises. With enough confidence you believe your beliefs and doubt the doubts. We have to win enough to pick up the confidence and be prepared by tournament time.
“We don’t like to talk about rankings. Rankings are what other people think about you. How you finish is how you feel about yourself. Rankings are a product to us after the process. However, our goal is to be competitive with teams rated 5-15. By March 1, our goal is to be competitive with 1-10 rated teams. By the end of the year we will have experienced enough and seen enough to be competitive with 1-10 rated team. Hard work keeps you from losing easily, and learning how to win comes from winning and competition.”
Sander Koning (Senior) played number-two singles and number-two doubles for the Tigers last season. He finished the year with a 21-10 record in singles and a 20-11 mark in doubles. “Sander is a veteran and leader. He brings a level of maturity to the team and program, and is a great example everyone needs to be around. He has one of the best ground games in the country. His work ethic is impeccable, and as a result, he won so many big matches for us last year.
Ryan Young (junior) finished the season with a 28-8 record in singles and a 26-10 mark in doubles play. Young played at number four singles and number one doubles in 2005. “It’s a great thing to have Ryan Young stepping up like he has. He has developed and matured in his game. He is a natural tennis player. He has to be on the tennis court. Ryan will challenge for anything out there. Ryan combines his ability with work ethic and is a true competitor.”
Nathan Thompson. “Simply put, I am glad Jarmaine is on our side. He loves being in the heat of the battle. He loves competition. He gives us depth at the top of our lineup and it is so great to have him back.”
Clint Boling (Sophomore) played at number five and six singles as a freshman. He finished with a 14-9 record in singles play. “Clint is a wonderful player and is improving and should compete for the top three positions in singles. He loves to be on the tennis court and he loves to play the game. He has some of the best ground strokes on the team and with a little more experience and work he will be something special.”
Clement Reix (Junior) finished the year with a 22-16 mark in single and a 26-11 mark in doubles action. Reix played at number three singles and saw action in 11 matches at number two singles. He also played at number two doubles. “Clement had big wins for us last year. He is very comfortable in the arena. He has a great work ethic and a great understanding of the game.
Brett Twente (Senior) finished the season with a 15-17 mark in single splay and a 17-21 mark in doubles competition. He played number four and number five singles for the Tigers last season. “Brett has a big heart and he is the ultimate team contributor. He gives everything he has everyday. He will be fighting for a spot in the singles lineup and it is so great to have his experience on the team.”
Ryan Cook (Sophomore) saw action in singles and doubles for the Tigers last season. He finished 1-1 in singles and 6-15 in doubles. “Ryan combines his perceptual skills and feel of the tennis court and he knows what it takes to be successful and he puts pressure on our players for a position in the singles lineup.
Ian Keeler (Senior) was 2-1 in singles and 13-11 in doubles in 2005. “Ian continues to be one of the best workers we have ever had at Clemson. He leads by example.”
“We red-shirted Ike Belk. He puts pressure on the other guys day in and day out. He is quickly improving player. He has speed and good hands. His ground game is great as so is his stroke fundamentals.”
Clemson added three signees to the the squad this year in Kevin Fleck (Statesville, NC) , Paul Koenke (Denver, CO), and Mike Muskievicz (Homewood, IL).
“Kevin is a competitor. He has a delayed pressure game and makes you work for every point. He is a smart player and understands the game. He will be hard to keep out of the lineup.
“Paul’s speed is his greatest asset. He has great speed and hands. He competed hard and I am so glad to have him on our team.
“Mike at 6-6 has a presence on the court. He has a great heart for competition and a good head on his shoulders. We are very excited as we work with him. He truly has an excellent future as he continues to grow inch by inch and not yard by yard.
In conclusion, Kriese believes he has the elements necessary to have an outstanding year. “To be successful you need four things, great players up top, hungry players to push the top players, depth or experience, and great doubles play. This year I think we can have all four.”
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