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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tennis

Asian food, hard work proves winning formula for UH


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Senior Elena Kordolaimi hopes to lead the Cougars this semester as she looks to give 100 percent and after helping the team through a successful fall season. | File Photo/The Cougar

For the UH tennis team, eating sesame chicken has become a good luck charm.

“I like variety in my dining options,” head coach Patrick Sullivan said. “But I’ll be going sesame chicken until we lose again.”

After having a successful fall semester, the Cougars hope to start the spring season where they left off.

While the team’s goal is to win the conference, climb the rankings and make the NCAA tournament, Sullivan wants to make sure his players are out there having fun.

“Our goal is to have a great attitude, work hard, and the success… will follow,” Sullivan said. “But we don’t really set ranking goals or performance goals…we just want to be playing our best tennis in April.”

Senior Elena Kordolaimi credited the team’s work ethic to their success in the fall and said she believes it will project into this season as well.

“Hard work shows later,” Kordolaimi said. “I think if we keep on working hard then that’s going to show later during the season, especially in May when things get tough.”

Sullivan said he wants to make sure his team is not looking past anyone because of the success they had in the fall.

“What happens now is a whole new ballgame, so it was nice to give us confidence, and we were playing really well in the fall, but that’s essentially the preseason,” Sullivan said, “While feeling good about it, we’re trying to forget about it and reset it, start it over and do the same thing in the spring.”

With tennis being such an intense sport, Sullivan said he wants to focus on mentally preparing his team for matches this season.

“Competing well is what we’re focusing on,” Sullivan said. “Just being vocal, mental and physical competitors. Because I think we have the talent to play with anybody in the country, but so much of this game is emotional in a way that they don’t understand.”

The team has also incorporated the Australian Open into their preparation this semester. Favorite players among the team include Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, as they try to find something to take away from every match.

“The first thing that I (admire) is their mentality,” Kordalaimi said. “The fact that they can stay calm throughout good and bad.”

Sullivan emphasized how well the pro-athletes compete and how focused they are.

“In tennis there is no clock; the time never runs out on you,” Sullivan said. “If you can just find a way to keep on digging and fighting and you get that break, or maybe the other person cracks or cramps… so many things can happen if you just fight for one more point and hang in there.”

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