Jan. 14, 2013
BERKELEY - As California men's tennis gears up for the spring season - starting with the Jan. 18-20 National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. - head coach Peter Wright found the time to chat with CalBears.com about the fall. Wright - the winner of the prestigious 2012 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award - is in his 20th year as head coach at his alma mater.
CalBears.com: How do you feel your team did as a whole during the fall season?
Peter Wright: Overall we had a good fall. It's the most tennis that we've played in a number of years. Every guy on the team got a significant number of matches, and some got quite a few. Our winning records were quite high. Overall, the experience and quality of matches played in the fall moved the team forward and gave us direction for goals in the spring.
CalBears.com: Some individuals stood out, including Ben McLachlan and Riki McLachlan, who qualified for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships after they won the doubles title at the regional and Ben won singles at the regional. Talk about their play this fall.
PW: Ben certainly made a jump from last year; he played in indoors last year in doubles. This year he won the regional. The regional punctuated our fall. It was the first time since 1969 we won the singles, doubles and team trophies.
Riki continued to develop. From freshman year to now, his progress in doubles quite frankly is very positive as he continues to grow. And his singles this fall was also very impressive. He's our team captain - leading off the court and winning on the court. Winning the regional and going to New York speaks volumes to his abilities and confidence.
CalBears.com: You have plenty of young players on your squad. What are your thoughts on them, especially Gregory Bayane, who won a couple of tournaments this fall in the Aggie Invitational and UCSB Classic?
PW: Gregory gained a lot of confidence in the fall. He won a couple of tournaments, which helped him grow in terms of how he plays. His confidence is at a high. It's his first fall here at Cal. He did a lot to improve his game. Our new players from Jack Sanford to our entire freshman or newcomer class - they all had an opportunity to shine. Wyatt Houghton did a great job, Jordan Smith, Stuart Miller, Nikhil Jayashankar and Mads Engsted are a good crew of young players on the team. Our goal in the fall is to provide lots of competitive opportunities for what was a really energetic group. Everybody new on the team has lot of energy, and that group produced a lot of camaraderie.
CalBears.com: Your Bears were honored for their academic success in recent seasons. While academics are important for all of Cal's teams, how proud are you personally when your team garners success in the classroom?
PW: It speaks to volumes to our guys' commitment to being Cal students and athletes. When we win academic awards, that shows you they're mastering skills that make you successful in life. We had a great fall in terms of tennis and in the classroom, and we were recognized by the president of the NCAA for having a strong APR over the last four years. We have a culture on our team of being successful and excellent in all we try to do, and representing the University well is the most important thing we do here.