By GEMMA SPICKA-PROFFIT
The men’s tennis team had a busy yet successful weekend two weeks ago. They hosted Bates and York on Saturday, and they hosted Penn State Harrisburg and Christopher Newport on Sunday. The team was able to come away with four wins, three of which are within the conference. One key player who led to this success was sophomore Joe Brown. He won all four of his singles matches, including one against CNU’s Andy Mason who is one of Brown’s doubles partners from before college.
“It was fun because we know each other’s game styles, and I’m good friends with him,” said Brown.
The match against CNU was crucial because they are UMW’s toughest competition this season. This season, the CAC Preseason Coaches Poll ranked UMW as the top seed, but CNU trailed closely behind. Brown believes that “if we just keep playing the way that we’re playing, we’ll definitely win CACs” and bring back the title once again. He also stated that the 9-0 win against CNU has easily been his favorite moment of the entire season.
Brown has been playing tennis for nine years, after switching around between many different sports in his childhood, including basketball, flag football and swimming, Brown was inspired to settle into tennis after beating his dad in a match. He joined a junior team and has been playing ever since. Upon arriving at UMW last year, Brown was already very familiar with the courts because he had competed many times in the annual summer Junior Tournament, Battle in the Burg, hosted there.
“Tennis was one of the biggest reasons for coming to UMW,” said Brown. “We have a really nice facility here with six indoor courts and twelve outdoor courts.”
He also prefers the format of a DIII game over the regulations of a DI game. In particular, he likes how DIII counts the doubles matches as three individual points rather than just one. Brown thinks that “if you sweep a team in doubles, that’s impressive”, and the D3 rules allow that success to be recognized.
Brown’s favorite approach to a match is to tire out his his opponent. “It’s a stamina game; no matter how good somebody is, everybody’s human and can get worn out,” said Brown. He considers Roger Federer to be his biggest athletic role model, and he is also trying to adopt some of Federer’s skills into his own techniques. It can be easy for Brown to overthink each point during a match, and he appreciates how Federer is able to stay focused and limit the emotion he is displaying.