By Norihito Ikeda / Staff Writer
By Norihito Ikeda / Staff Writer
The Riverside City College men’s tennis team had a match against Orange Empire Conference rival Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on March 13.
The Tigers won all nine matches against the Pirates to wrap up the first half of conference play, with a record of 4-1 in conference, to currently hold down second place in the conference.
The Tigers currently hold a 7-5 record overall this season.
Before their first match against the Pirates this season, the Tigers had competed against the other four conference rivals.
The Tigers shut out Cypress 9-0 to open up conference play.
The Tigers defended home court with a victory over Irvine Valley, 5-4 to start a win streak with two straight conference wins.
The streak continued on for the Tigers with another shutout against Fullerton, 9-0, before having the streak end against the conference leading Saddleback, 5-4.
The Tigers will look to improve their doubles play to win the rest of the conference games.
In the match against Saddleback, the Tigers finished 4-2 in singles and finished 0-3 in doubles.
In the match against Irvine Valley, they finished 4-2 in singles but finished 1-2 in doubles.
Jim Elton, head coach of the men’s team, said that doubles are totally different from singles.
“At this point, we are still playing as two singles players on the same half of the court,” he said. “It’s a totally different game, some singles players are not really good at doubles.”
He said that the doubles players should develop the knowledge of their partner.
They should be familiar with what their partner is good at and what their partner covers for them.
“Most of the good players come up in their youth tennis playing singles. They don’t usually play doubles,” he said. “They do not recognize that every point in doubles is just as important as the points they won in singles.”
Doubles players should be more aggressive than singles players.
Elton said that the singles players are trying to stand at a point as long as they can and wait for the other player’s mistake.
On the other hand, the doubles players have to put pressure on their competitors and win the points.
John Melendez, the Tigers’ assistant coach, mentioned that the doubles players in the Tigers get too conservative a lot of times, so they should be more aggressive.
The top four singles players make up the top two doubles on the Tigers: Jordan Gobatie, Ramazan Nureev, Theo Arruda and Aliaksandr Pesniak.
Elton said that Gobatie is the team’s No. 1 player right now.
“To start the fall I did not think of him as our No. 1 player, but he probably worked the hardest, and been our most consistent,” he said. “When the matches have been tough, he has battled the longest. He has the biggest victory for us, so he is a key.”
He also mentioned that Nureev, started the season at the No. 1 spot, but is currently the No. 2 player for the Tigers because he had troubles at his earlier games.
“They both have the potential to play No. 1, but he struggled early in his matches and he has not always come through with the victory,” he said.
Elton said that teamwork is important in tennis.
“A lot of young kids need to learn what it means to compete on a team,” he said. “They are all used to competing as individuals.”
In conference games, the players win a point for their team, not for themselves.
“They need to start recognizing that their victory gives the team a point, and if they do not win, the team does not get a point and it is not just about them,” he said.