The Nevada Men’s Tennis team is looking for a way to turn this season around as their 3-6 record has been nothing but unexpected this year. Nevada, coming off a 4-2 loss against the New Mexico State Aggies in the Golden State Invitational Tournament (GSI), had only two out of six players obtain a match victory over their opponent. Freshman Kostya Nesterenko set the bar for the Wolf Pack, defeating Enrique Asmar from NMSU 7-6, 6-1, and Junior Peter O’ Donovan from Nevada defeated Mauri Benitez from NMSU 6-1, 6-2. Nevada has struggled both in the regular and tournament seasons this year, leaving the GSI in sixth place, and are ranked No. 7 in the Mountain West.
With their backs against the wall this season, Nevada needs to find a way to turn it around and do it fast. So how can they do it? First, their young players need to become more prioritized and experienced. Nesterenko being one of the only players, let alone a freshman, to defeat NMSU by himself, he is someone who needs to be built up and worked with. A young talent like that could easily be shaped into a strong tennis player. Alongside him is sophomore Jonathan Aremon. Although he doesn’t get much time on the courts, Aremon’s well-fitted height of 6’2″ and long wingspan makes him able to reach balls most players couldn’t otherwise hit. Aremon could be created into a strong singles player, as he holds a solid 9-6 record. He has massive potential and is being heavily overlooked. A huge key to Nevada’s success will be the training and trial of their young stars.
Another key to Nevada’s success will be to focus on their power teams in both doubles and singles. In doubles, teams Augustin Delahodde/Julien Evrard (5-2) and Mile Cilic/Kostya Nesterenko (4-3) are the best on the team, leading all other teams with the highest win-lose ratio. These 2 groups need to be highly slotted and worked on, as they seem to have the best chemistry together when it comes to crunch time. Delahodde/Evrard, who are currently on a two-game win streak, should be seen as number one priority when it comes to pairing and setting up matches for doubles, no question. As for singles, the story is simple as can be. Leading the team at a 12-7 record, sophomore Aremon yet again is given another reason to be pushed farther into the spotlight. With a better personal record than any other player on the team, including the senior captains, Aremon’s time to become a team leader will soon be inevitable. It will be no surprise if this young player becomes a team captain one day. Nesterenko is right behind Aremon with a 12-12 record. The development of these young athletes needs to become prioritized.
The Wolf Pack is led by phenomenal tennis coach Sylvain Malroux, who coached SJSU Women’s Tennis to a Western Athletic Conference Championship, as well as an NCAA Tournament bid in 2013. Known for his amazing recruiting skills, as well his ability to develop players and his ties to Reno, Malroux seems to be the perfect fit for Nevada. So why do we struggle? Malroux is a strong coach, who does not let up, but his young players have not seemed to be prioritized the way they should be. Nevada’s senior talent stands alone as Miles Cilic, a remarkable tennis player, is the only senior on the team. On a team of 12 players, half of them are underclassmen, so there is plenty of room for development and pushing. Not to say Malroux has not done so, as we know he has, or else stars like Aremon and Nesterenko wouldn’t have the records they have. They just need to be pushed more and given more time to shine in order to bring Nevada the wins it deserves.