National Team Indoor Blog
National Team Indoors Blog
Throughout the Cavaliers’ trip to Seattle for the 2008 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, seniors Treat Huey and Somdev Devvarman will write about the team’s experiences on and off the court. Check in throughout the week for the latest news, stories, and anecdotes from the trip.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Today started even better than the other days as we had an extra hour to sleep because we played at noon instead of 11 a.m. We went through our regular routine of the morning hit, breakfast, rest and the pre-match warm up. We knew what we were up for against a very good Ohio State team.
Treat and I came out with a lot of energy and played well for our win. We were having battles at No. 2 and No. 3. At No. 2 we were up a few match points but Ohio State strung together a streak few good points finish the match. Sanam and Shabaz came up huge at 7-7 when they saved many break points and played a great breaker to clinch the doubles point and give us the lead.
We knew our work was far from over though because Ohio State is known for their fight. We went out fired up for singles. Sanam came out like his usual self and played great tennis and before we knew it he was up in the stands cheering us. I feel like he has definitely spent more time up in the stands than on the courts this week. I played pretty well and I was very focused on the first set today. Unlike the other matches I finally won my first set which I thought was very important as it helped Treat to feed off my energy. I was serving well most of my match and played a good game to break and win my match in straight sets.
At that time, I checked the other courts and Teddy and Dom were down a set and a break, Houston was battling after a tough first set loss and Treat was up a set and on serve. The match seemed a little too tight even though we were up 3-0. Dom’s opponent, Steven Moneke, played some good tennis and Dom wasn’t quite at his best today as he lost. We can’t be disappointed with him after his effort this week. He came up huge for us in the other two matches. Houston fought off a match point and played a great breaker to tie his match at one set all. Houston just has too much fight and heart in him. Teddy saved his match when Eberly served for it and took the set to a breaker.
All eyes were now on Treat, who seemed to be playing some good tennis. It looked like he was serving well to get to a second set breaker. The breaker was really close and even though Treat was down a set point, he fought it off and played a great match point to clinch the match and the championship for us. I can’t say enough good things about Treat to come back and play the way he did today. Coach Boland always tells us we find out a lot about people when things aren’t going well for them. We find out a lot about our teammates in how they deal with tough situations. Enough said. I think we all know what we learned about Huey after this week and the way he finished off the job.
Winning the Team National Indoor Championship is definitely the best moment in my collegiate career and I’m sure all the other players and coaches feel the same way. I wanted to take this opportunity I have to thank everyone who helps us behind the scenes. Thanks to all the fitness trainers who help us in the weight room, the medical trainers who take care of our “ow-wies”, all our professors and TA’s who are very understanding and cooperative, UVA donors, the Boars Head and Farmington for allowing us to use their courts, VAF foundation, the entire Virginia Athletic Department that is very supportive and encouraging all the time regardless of our results, all the greatest fans in the world, our parents, our media guys, alumni, tennis alumni who always stay involved and our managers. A special thanks to our trainers Nicole (who’s having a baby in a couple weeks) and Jaime, Dr. Mistry and Becky Boland for putting up with us. And last but not least I would like to thank my coaches and all my teammates cause this would not mean half as much if I didn’t get to share it with you guys.
Its now time for all of us to catch up with school, continue to work on our games and get back to all our Valentines Day dates who have obviously been waiting for us for the last week or so. Thanks for everything Wahoo fans. You’re the greatest.
– Somdev Devvarman
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17
Just as we have done the last three days, we got up at 8 a.m. and went to the courts for our first warm-up. It was a really nice day today out here in Seattle and it felt like it was 60 degrees or so, basically shorts and T-shirt weather. After we ate breakfast at the hotel, we came back to the courts to hit. Right before our match, we all were able to meet former Virginia football great Patrick Kerney, one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He was at the match on Saturday as well but we did not get to talk to him. He was such a nice guy and was really down to earth, even though he and the Seahawks beat my Redskins in the playoffs (Shabaz might argue that they are his Redskins). I really enjoyed meeting him and talking to him for a little while.
Now to the match. It was another match that was as close as it can be and we pulled it out, just as we have all year. We had worked on doubles a little bit extra last night and this morning and it really paid off today. Sanam and Shabaz did a great job of coming back from down a break in their match to win a hard fought, really close doubles match. Somdev and I came up big at the end of our match and broke, then held to close out the match and take the doubles point. It felt good going into singles having won the doubles point but we knew that Ole Miss is very strong and that we had to go out and earn the win today.
Things did not start very well in the singles, losing the first set in all of the matches except for Sanam (who doesn’t lose sets ever), but we came back real strong. Somdev came back today from 6-4, 5-3 down, and also came back from 4-2 down in the tie-breaker in the second set. Some people may think that is unbelievable, but I was completely confident that he was going to pull it out. Sanam’s match was great. He is playing some great tennis and hitting the ball really well right now. I was not able to see any of it (because he wins so quickly) but I heard that he was just hitting the ball so clean and moving the guy all over the court. I was able to see Dom’s third set and he is doing a great job of serving and volleying. If anybody was wondering, he still has a nice looking beard and we were talking after the match that he needs to keep it because he’s playing some great tennis right now. There was only one break of serve in the match and it was at 1-all in the third set. Dom hit a fantastic cross court backhand return off of a huge first serve out wide at 30 40 that went right by his opponent, who was charging the net. The ball hit the line and was called out by Dom’s opponent but was overruled by the chair umpire to give Dom the break. To finish off the match, Dom just dropped bombs for serves and hit some great volleys to secure the victory.
After the match, although most of us are getting sick of the noodle place for lunch, we had to go there just as we had the last five days. All of us are a little superstitious and we have done basically the same thing every day. After the noodles, half the guys went back to the hotel for some rest while Lee, Shabaz, Somdev and I went to hit a little more. Just as we had done the previous night, we came back and had dinner in the conference room and talked about tomorrow’s matchups and got ourselves ready mentally for the match. We are all real excited for the finals tomorrow and Somdev and I talked earlier about how would like to win this after we lost in the finals here our first-year to Baylor. I’m pumped and ready to start the match right now, but we’ve got to rest the body some and get some sleep so to play some good tennis tomorrow so I’ll end here.
Since this is my last day (Somdev will take the anchor and finish this up tomorrow), I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my perspective of the last few days and I’d also like to say thank you to all the Cavalier tennis fans and the people that have sent messages wishing the team luck this week.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16
Today started off pretty well. We followed the same routine as yesterday and before we knew it we were doing our chant for the doubles match and getting fired up.
I felt like we came out with a good amount of energy, definitely not low, but UCLA played some really solid doubles at #2 and 3 to clinch the opening point. Losing the doubles point wasn’t new to our guys as we have done it a couple times before with very good teams as well. It obviously wasn’t an ideal situation but I think everyone knew they had a job on their hands regardless of the outcome of the doubles point. We went into singles completely focused and fired up.
I’m going to start first with Sanam. What a stud he’s been for us so far. He gets very little credit just because he hasn’t clinched for us yet but he hasn’t been in that situation because of the high level of tennis he is playing. I don’t want to jinx him by saying anything else so I’ll leave it at that.
Houston was playing right next to me so I did get to watch a lot of his match. I thought he played a tremendous first set and also served for it. It was unlike Houston to lose serve there but he fought as hard as anyone could fight and left it out there on the court. Unfortunately for him he did lose his first 2 sets of the season on the same day but he’s still having a heck of a year and with his fight and heart he’s only going to get better and learn from this experience.
Treat also played next to me. His match started off with 6 holds and he did have 3 break points in the 7th game. He got a couple bad breaks and to give Holden credit he did play some big tennis especially to come back after losing the second. He showed a big game for a freshman. Obviously Treat didn’t play his best tennis but one thing I do know about Huey after playing with him all these years is the amazing character he has inside. He doesn’t show it much but I know what to expect from him when he steps out on the court tomorrow and that’s a fire and desire to overcome a tough situation like never before.
Teddy obviously played a good match today. From talking to him after the match it sounded like his opponent played very well too. Teddy loves playing tournament format tennis day in and day out and I’m sure he’s only going to get better day by day. He has been very reliable for us and hopefully he will continue his good form.
Having Dom back on the court was really comforting. He’s proved he’s one of the best players in the country and he obviously showed that once again. I heard that the quality of tennis on his court was phenomenal. Dom came up big in the breaker and served an ace like a champion to end the match. To say the least it was an unbelievable effort and a great way to announce a comeback.
My match had a lot of ups and downs. Harel played some very good tennis to have me uncomfortable throughout the match especially in the first set. I started getting into a groove and started holding serve more comfortably through the next 2 sets. It was just one break in the 2nd and 3rd sets. I knew it came down to me when all my teammates and coaches came over to the sidelines to cheer. It’s a great feeling to be a part of. I played a great game to break at 4-4 and served out the match quite well. I have to give Harel a lot of credit as he has improved a lot since the last couple times I played him and he really had me for a while there in that match.
After looking back at the match I must say that UCLA’s team was very sporting and fair. Their coaches Billy Martin and Kris Kwinta and every single one of their players were very nice after the match and wished us all the best which is a very tough thing to do after a tough loss. They handled themselves with class and apart from the fact that they are a national championship caliber team, their sportsmanship and good nature stood out to me after it was all said and done.
We obviously went to get lunch at the same Noodle place today as well to continue our superstition. Why change what’s working right? After that a few of us wanted to go back to get a short practice in to get ready for tomorrow. We got back from there and did our treatments and a few of us made sure to get into the ice tub to get our legs fresh for tomorrow. We had a great team meal and discussed the today’s match but after that we made sure to focus on what we have on our hands tomorrow. We are very aware that Ole Miss has a very strong team but a tough win today definitely has all of us ready to go tomorrow. Now it’s time for a good nights sleep to get ready for another day at the office. Until then.
LETS GO WAHOOS!!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Hey Hoo fans:
The day started early as we all got up and went straight out of bed to the courts at 7:45 so that we could hit at 8:00 during the doubles of the morning match between Oklahoma State and Baylor. We had one and a half courts as Penn State was there also, so we split the 3 courts that were available. It was just a light hit as we all just wanted to get out there and break a sweat and make sure we were all wide awake. After that we all went back to the hotel and ate some breakfast and relaxed for an hour or so before we went back to the courts to warm up again before the start the match. I don’t know if anybody knew, but there is live scoring and also live video provided by the University of Washington and I heard from some people that they are doing a very good job.
Being the first day of the tournament, a few more people came into town last night and this morning and joined us here in Seattle. Lee’s parents, Houston’s parents and youngest brother, as well as our video man Mike Moraghan (a great guy that does so much behind the scenes for the team and makes those great videos on the website) are with us now.
The match was great, everyone is playing well and looked good out on the courts today. Having Dom back was nice and he looked great out on the court today, because not only was he playing well but he looked great too with what he has been calling a “big ole beard”. In singles, Sanam and Houston are just on a roll right now and led the way in our 4-0 win. Also, I have to give Michael James (the guy Somdev played in singles) a lot of credit because he was playing absolutely unbelievable and took a set off of the king, which everyone knows is very tough to do. For the people that haven’t been to the last few matches or did not see today’s match on video, some of the guys have brought out Nike bandana’s (like Federer and Nadal) to wear and in my mind, today’s match result says we need to keep wearing them.
After the match, we went to the same noodle place that we went to Thursday for lunch (our team’s a little superstitious) and some of us got a little ice cream as a treat. We went back to the hotel right after that and rested up, some of us taking a nap and the rest of us just watching TV. A couple of us went back to the courts at about 5:30 to get another light hit and then came back to the hotel for dinner. We ordered in and ate some Italian in the one of the meeting rooms with the coaches and parents as well. As a team I feel like we are all ready to go again tomorrow morning and we are as well prepared as we can be, so that definitely excites me as a captain seeing the team playing great tennis and having a great time.
Now it is time to get some sleep and get ready for the Bruins tomorrow, so until next time: GO HOOS.
– Treat Huey
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14
I would like to start my first entry by wishing everyone a very happy Valentines Day. I know our team had a very great start to the day as Coach was in a very good mood ’cause he had his wife Becky with him. For the rest of us, our dates will have to wait until we get back. I know that’s tough for the thousands in line but tennis comes first right now.
We started off the day with a 9 a.m. breakfast and were all set to have a productive practice at 11 a.m. at the main site where we play tomorrow. The practice atmosphere out there was great. We started off with some doubles drills and moved on to the singles stuff after. All the guys looked great out there and showed no signs of any tiredness or negativity from the flying and a day without practice. To me it was a sign of a team maturing as we continue to get better.
After practice we proceeded to buy all the groceries we could possibly need for the matches. As coach always says, “we need to control what we can”, so we make sure we have no possible excuses and get all we need before we step on the court on game day.
We had a light lunch today at the Noodle Factory. One of my personal favorites. We then got back for a little rest and we got ready to attend the banquet at the main site at 6. It isn’t exactly an exciting thought to mingle with 15 other men’s teams for Valentines Day dinner but we wore our shirts and ties with our shiny dress shoes either way.
Surprisingly our dinner was pretty good and our mingling wasn’t forced. We get along well with pretty much every team out there so there wasn’t any tension. Just very “warm” greetings and we wished each other good luck.
Treat and I felt like hitting a little more after the dinner. We hit for about an hour to get a better feel for the courts. Unfortunately Jason and Tony beat up on us but we know we’re better ’cause we’re still up 106-1 in our head to head battles. We got back to the hotel at around 9 p.m. and hung out with all the guys a bit. After the team meeting it was time for bed as we wake up early tomorrow.
I just get a feeling the team is where it needs to be right now and we’re all fired up with only Penn State in mind. I personally haven’t even looked at the draw. Now all we need is a good night’s sleep and I’m sure we’ll all be ready to go in the morning.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13
I thought of the idea of writing this blog after reading a lot of people’s blogs on atptennis.com about their days during a tournament and behind the scenes before and after matches. I have enjoyed reading about other people’s lives and their daily routine before and after matches and figured why not write one this week when we are in Seattle for the second biggest tournament of the year, the National Indoors.
So here it goes…
First I’d like to start of by wishing Somdev a happy birthday. He just got back Monday night and has been working really hard in school the last two days. Today started early for all of us, half of us had class and the rest of us went to Boar’s Head in the morning to practice before getting ready to drive to Richmond for our 3:30 flight. For the tournament, we’ve got an extra person with us this week that in my mind does the most for our team. Becky Boland (Coach Boland’s wife) came with us this trip making our Virginia tennis camp here at the hotel 13 large. Along with her we’ve got eight players here, Lee, Dom, Houston, Michael, Sanam, Ted, Somdev and I, our trainer Jaime, and the three coaches, Brian, Tony and Jason. All of us got to Richmond just in time, with Brian running (good thing he’s gotten a lot faster in the last month) to the gate and barely making our flight from Richmond to Charlotte, N.C., then taking the 5 hour-45 minute flight into Seattle. It was a long travel day, but most of us, especially Somdev and I, took advantage of it and caught up on a lot of much needed sleep. We got into Seattle pretty late and with the three-hour time change it seemed even later than we thought. It was about midnight and we picked up some Subway next to the hotel before we all went to our rooms and called it a night. That’s about all I’ve got for the first day and the plan is to have Somdev and I alternate days so you will be hearing from him tomorrow. We’ve got a good day of practice and getting ready for our 11 a.m. match on Friday. We have practice planned for tomorrow and I’m real excited to get out on the courts.
– Treat Huey