Player Diaries: Jonathan Chou
April 8, 2002
Monday, April 1 and Tuesday, April 2
Two days off. Our match this past Sunday was the last of an exhausting stretch of seven matches in eleven days. The team was clearly tired after all of these matches, particularly as a result of the final road trip to Georgia Tech and Clemson over the weekend. We were definitely disappointed after the weekend because as a whole we played quite well and came very close to winning three matches at the top of our lineup, which would’ve been enough to upset Georgia Tech. Coach Boland recognized that our guys were a little beat up after the past eleven days and rewarded us with two days off. After these two days, we’ll begin the final stretch of our season, where we have our last five regular season matches and ACC Tournament.
Wednesday, April 3
Practice today was slightly longer than usual for a day preceding a match since we were coming off a two-day break. The team was noticeably rejuvenated from the break, resulting in a pretty intense practice. Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, we managed to have a productive day on the courts. I think practicing through the gusty winds will help us compete better tomorrow. We tried practicing with a couple of new doubles tandems that will hopefully help us win the valuable doubles point tomorrow and for the remainder of the season. Coach Boland emphasized today that it’s not necessarily how you start your season, but rather how you finish, and we all know that we need a strong finish.
Thursday, April 4:
We traveled to play American University today and lost 5-2. It was a disappointing loss because we really believed that we were an equal, if not better, squad than American. There’s no doubt we had opportunities in a few of our singles matches, where if we had capitalized, we would’ve won the team match. This can definitely be a learning experience for the team, especially the younger guys, because individually everyone needs to recognize the critical points and games in a match that can have a major impact on the ultimate outcome. Coach spoke to us for a while on the trip back about stepping up as players and playing without fear when the match is on the line. I think the guys took that to heart, and today will be a valuable experience for us all. The team was pretty down after the match and understandably so. We’re definitely struggling to find our way back into the win column, and this weekend’s match against N.C. State will be a great opportunity to do so.
Friday, April 5
Some parents and alums came out and witnessed a great practice today. We dedicated a major part of our time to playing with a couple new doubles teams again, trying to find the right chemistry between players. We know that winning the doubles point is key, and all the hard work we’ve put into doubles this year will payoff once we get the right players together. The coaches led an intense, focused, and detail oriented practice. The drills we did today were designed to help fine tune some specific aspects of our games so we will be ready to compete 100% tomorrow. There was a lot of energy out there today, and I think the guys are really hungry for a victory.
Saturday, April 6:
The guys came out with a lot of emotion and excitement today, in our pre-match meeting and in the warm-up you could feel the energy in the air. We had a pretty good crowd show up for our match due to our tennis alumni weekend, and the team gave our alums a great show. We started out by winning two of the three doubles matches to win the important doubles point. After that, N.C. State came out firing, as we knew they would, and jumped out to a 3-1 lead by winning the top three singles matches. At this point, two of our bottom three guys had lost the first set, and all three ended up having to play a third and final set. With our backs to the wall, and keeping in mind coach’s lecture on playing without fear, we came back and clinched a 4-3 team victory. Coming from behind as a team to pull out our first ACC victory was an unbelievable feeling, and all the work that we’ve put into doubles finally paid off. I can’t really do justice to how great we felt after the match yesterday, it was a great win for our young team, and something we can definitely use to build upon for the future.
Sunday, April 7
Coach granted us a well deserved and needed day off. We obviously all feel very good still from yesterday’s victory over N.C. State. Everyone’s a little bit tired because a match like that is draining physically and emotionally. Hopefully we can use it to help us finish the year strong as we prepare for our final three regular season matches, all of which are very important to us. We have a tough week ahead with matches against Maryland, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina, and we’ll get right back out there tomorrow to begin preparing ourselves for those matches. But for today, we’ll just enjoy our day off.