Hopkins men’s tennis defeated the 17th-ranked Carnegie Mellon University Tartans 5-4 on April 3, with sophomore Thomas Yu clinching the match with a dominant win at first singles.
Yu is ranked fifth in singles in the Atlantic South region, boasting an 8-1 singles record. Yu also earned Centennial Conference Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on March 29.
The News-Letter had an opportunity to talk with Yu about the win over Carnegie Mellon and his goals for the season.
The News-Letter: You clinched the match at first singles with a dominant win. What was your strategy heading into that matchup? Did you have to adjust your tactics during the match?
Thomas Yu: I didn’t have a rigid strategy going into the match. Playing college tennis has made me realize that we never know what the conditions are going to be like or who we are going to play, so it’s important to be flexible and always ready to adapt.
That said, I still had to make adjustments during the match since it was extremely windy. I played with a lot more margin and patience since the wind could carry balls deep or short suddenly. Once I got some momentum in the match, I was able to take some more chances.
N-L: You were paired with freshman Marco Azar at third doubles for the first time. Can you talk about the adjustments that you have to make when playing with a new doubles partner?
TY: Yes, it’s the first time I’ve played with Azar in a match. Normally when playing with a new partner we have to learn what kind of signals the other player is used to and what rhythm they have for serving, maybe even some tendencies for where they like to hit the ball. Azar is a great doubles player and he creates a lot of opportunities for us to close the net and put away volleys. It wasn’t a big adjustment for me to play with him.
N-L: You were named Centennial Conference Player of the Week last week; what does this accomplishment mean to you?
TY: Being named Centennial Conference Player of the Week sort of reinforces all the hard work I’ve put into the season. I’ve really just gone out there every week trying to be the best player I can be and doing everything I can to help the team win. So finding out about that nomination lets me know that my hard work is paying off and will continue to pay off.
N-L: Can you talk about the goals you and your team have for the rest of the season?
TY: Our team has had the same goal since the start of the season. We want to get back to the NCAA tournament and make a run similar to last year when we made the semifinals. We have some tough matches coming up in our season which will really help us prepare for the postseason.