Congratulations Austin!

May 25th, 2010

Congratulations to Austin Krajicek for being named the 2010 ITA National Player to Watch on Tuesday!

Photo credit to: Colette Lewis, who runs the ZooTennis website and is one of the most avid supporters of junior and college tennis in the national media :)

Here is a link to her website:
http://tenniskalamazoo.blogspot.com/

A Tale Of Two Lefties

May 25th, 2010

Texas A&M junior All-Americans Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo will compete in the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Singles and Doubles Championship to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

The picture above was taken during the 2009 Wilson/ITA Texas Regional Championships held in Aggieland in the fall. Austin and Jeff won the doubles title at that tournament. They defeated Kellen Damico and Ed Corrie of rival Texas in the semifinals and we had a little fun on the scoreboards in the background with the Leftys playing the Rightys.

Ironically, both are talented left-handed players from the Tampa area in the Sunshine State and come from athletic lineage. Krajicek is a distant relative of former Wimbledodn champion Richard Krajicek and his father, Rob, played college basketball at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, while his mother, Sherry, was a professional water skier. Meanwhile, Dadamo’s father, Jeff, played college tennis at Northern Illinois.

The Krajicek’s now live in the Bryan-College Station area (so they can follow Austin’s playing and training career) and have been a great addition to our local community. His parents are the nicest people you’ll ever meet and thank you Mr. Krajicek for taking over those match programs for me to Houston back in February!

The same goes for the Dadamo’s, who I met this past weekend in Athens. According to the younger Jeff, his father, mother, Janice, and brother, Brenton, will be making the eight-hour drive tomorrow for his first-round singles match versus Steven Forman of Wake Forest. Jeff said he’s played Forman once or twice before in juniors, but it was a very long time ago.

Even though the school year may be over in Aggieland, most of the players are taking mini-mester classes this summer. Last week, I observed a lot of them studying in the hotel lobby and know they are not only tennis-minded, but school-minded as well. Dadamo is currently taking a history class through Blinn College and is enrolled in a finance course in the second summer session at A&M. His career aspiration is to run a securities company in the future. WOW!

Since the rest of the team and staff left on Saturday, I texted Austin and Jeff to see if they had any good stories to share. According to Austin, the weather has been comfortable in the mid-80′s and it’s not supposed to rain this week in Athens. Two thumbs up, especially after the down pour we saw last Friday before the Baylor match!

One thing I know from my travels with the men’s tennis team over the years, they are a very stylish group. According to Jeff and Austin, they’ve had some down time to go shopping at the local mall and update their wardrobes. I guess there was a very good 2-for-1 sale at The Gap LOL :)

You can view live scoring of their singles and doubles matches at the following link below. BTHO OLE MISS, WF and UVA Aggies!

Click This Link To Go To Live Scoring

Doubles Dog Fight

May 21st, 2010

It’s not a shock the doubles point was a dog fight between Texas A&M and Baylor, especially tiebreakers at the No. 1 and No. 2 lines. It took close to an hour and a half for the Aggies to take the 1-0 lead into singles for the third time this season versus the Bears.

Senior co-captain Marcus Lunt and junior Alexey Grigorov, ranked No. 34 nationally, only relinquished one point in their tiebreaker win over Attila Bucko and Jordan Rux. Lunt served for the match and is now tied with former All-American Ryan Newport, Mark Weaver and Bernardo Martinez with the school single-season record for most doubles wins with a team-best 24-6 dual record.

Marcus is one of my favorite student-athletes of all-time and you gotta love his fight and spirit … a true Aggie indeed! His parents, Ned and Judy, are here among the A&M faithful as well as Jeff Dadamo’s father, Jeff, and John Lewis’ father, Walter. Welcome Aggie Family!

DOUBLES (Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2*)
No. 1 – (28) Lukacs-Maytin (Baylor) def. (5) Dadamo-Krajicek (Texas A&M), 9-8 (4).
No. 2 – (34) Grigorov-Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Bucko-Rux (Baylor), 9-8 (1).
No. 3 – Bautista-Hoover (Texas A&M) def. Horny-Mueller (Baylor), 8-3.

Live Scoring Available

May 21st, 2010

Click This Link To Go To Live Scoring

It’s 7 p.m. (ET) and we just arrived to the indoor site and it looks like the NCAA committee will give both teams 30 minutes to warm up. There are eight courts available at the facility. Three courts will be used first for doubles and then the remaining for singles. The University of Georgia media relations office is setup for live scoring here, so kudos to their hardwork and efforts today.

We certainly understand the man hours put in by the UGA support staff and on-site volunteers to host the NCAA Tennis Championships, especially when the event gets delayed due to weather, etc. It’s definitely an undertaking and one of the longest commitments of any Division I varsity sport starting with the team championship and then the individual championship over a two-week period.

Let me just tell you, I’ve had many people come up to me today to tell me how great of a job we do at Texas A&M of hosting. They also kidded around with me that it must be nice to be able to enjoy the match and leave at my leisure LOL :) Gig ‘Em Aggies!

Going Indoors

May 21st, 2010
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It was rain, rain, rain today at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. After the traditional pre-match meal at Jason’s Deli, the Aggies headed to the practice courts in preparation for the Bears.

We were scheduled to begin doubles play on the main courts before ominous clouds hovered over the tennis stadium and fans and players were looking to seek shelter from the storm.

We are currently en route to The Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Georgia. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Athens. It’s ironic that two Big 12 Conference teams who are only 90 miles apart will have to play indoors in a suburb outside of Atlanta.

The anticipated start time is 7 p.m. (ET) – 6 p.m. (CT). Due to play being held indoors, live scoring and live video will not be available from host University of Georgia. I’ll try to post updates after doubles and between sets in singles if a power outlet and internet is available in the facility.

According to USC head coach Peter Smith, whose defending national champion Trojans had to play Kentucky this morning in the same facility, the courts are fair. We shall see the conditions once we reach our destination …

NCAA Day One Update

May 21st, 2010

Due to a rain delay with early morning matches moved indoors, the Texas A&M men’s tennis team’s Round of 16 match versus Baylor has been pushed back an hour and is still scheduled to be played outdoors at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The match will not start before 4 p.m. (ET) – 3 p.m. (CT).

Live scoring and live video will be available at:
http://www.ncaa.com/sports/c-tennis/champpage/c-tennis-div1-index.html

Hoop Dreams

May 21st, 2010

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Here is a video clip of junior Alexey Grigorov warming up to play H-O-R-S-E with our host families’ sons and their friend Thomas. Prior to my filming (which made him a little self-conscious), Griggy showed off some pretty sweet Air Jordan-type moves going to the rack. Coach Turgeon watch out for this gritty Russian next season! This kid loves hoops and I think he would be a great addition to the Aggie Basketball program ;) WHOOP!

Southern Hospitality

May 20th, 2010

One of the best parts of traveling to the NCAA Championships is the opportunity to enjoy the local scenery and meet new people away from the tennis courts. Tonight, we were treated to some good ‘ole Southern hospitality about 15 minutes away from campus at the home of the Strickland’s, our host family in Athens.

Unbeknownst to me, as we knocked on the door, did I ever imagine I would have a reunion with an old friend and colleague. Carter Strickland, our host dad, used to cover my alma mater, Washington State, in the late 90′s as a sports writer for The Spokesman Review. The last time I saw him, it was about four years ago in the press box at Kyle Field as he covered the Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma football game for The Oklahoman in 2006. Right then, I knew we had hit the jackpot of host families and I know the team feels the same way.

After an amazing dinner spread, we were treated to homemade chocolate pie with fresh cut strawberries and whipped cream. Then, the fire pit was started up as the team enjoyed making homemade smores in one of the most beautiful outdoor settings I can imagine in a long time.

The Strickland’s have two sons, Owen and Pierce, who enjoyed playing soccer, basketball and football with the team. If we had a men’s soccer team at Texas A&M, Niall Angus (England), Alexis Klegou (France) and Alexey Grigorov (Russia) would surely be in the starting lineup for the Aggies.

Several other members of the team couldn’t shake away from the tennis bug and played some competitive matches of ping-pong, even some air hockey. Many thanks to the Strickland Family for making our trip in Athens memorable (we forgive you for being Longhorns LOL)!

These are the kind of moments that strengthen team unity and camaraderie. This is the closest-knit men’s tennis team I’ve been associated with in my four years in Aggieland. Coach Denton and Coach McKinley have done an incredible job of building a top 10 program with quality student-athletes. This team is truly special and has so much potential of leaving their mark as one of the greatest of all-time. BTHO BU!

Baylor Preview

May 20th, 2010

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John Lewis, a sophomore transfer from the University of Alabama, gives us his take on the upcoming Round of 16 matchup with Baylor. Lewis grew up in SEC country in nearby Birmingham, Alabama, which is only three hours driving distance from Athens.

After playing soccer and football growing up, he started playing tennis only to fulfill a physical education credit he needed for school. Ironically, his next door neighbor had a tennis court in his backyard and offered lessons every Friday morning. As he progressed in the sport, he started to compete in junior tournaments across the country and the rest, as they say, is history :)

Dressed For Success

May 19th, 2010


The Aggies looking all dapper suited up prior to attending the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships Team Banquet on the University of Georgia campus on May 19. These young men are good ambassadors, not only for the Aggie Tennis program, but our university. They are a joy to work with and are truly gentlemen on-and-off-the-court.