Q&A with Dominic Inglot
The Virginia men’s tennis team is the No. 1 seed for the 2009 NCAA Tournament and begins play this week by hosting a regional at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (29-0) meet Navy in the first round on Friday at 1 p.m. South Carolina and North Carolina play at 10 a.m. on Friday in the other first round match in Charlottesville. Friday’s winners play at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the second round for a trip to the NCAA Round of 16 the following week in College Station, Texas. Virginiasports.com caught up with Dominic Inglot to review the season and preview the NCAA Tournament.
Question: The team is hosting a NCAA regional this weekend for the sixth consecutive year. How important is it to be able to open the NCAA Tournament at home?
Inglot: It is really important. You are familiar with the courts you are playing on as well as playing in front of your home crowd. It makes a comfortable environment for us to play in and hopefully that allows us to be successful and take some momentum with us when we go to Texas A&M. We know the teams that are coming for our regional are tough and we need to play our best in order to advance.
Question: Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the second consecutive season. What does that accomplishment say about this program?
Inglot: Everyone is very proud of that fact. Personally, I am more proud of this year’s team. Last year, I think that people expected it to happen. I don’t think that was the case this year. To be in the same position this year as we were last year, despite losing great players like Somdev (Devvarman), Treat (Huey) and Teddy (Angelinos), says a lot about the guys on this team. All of our hard work in paying dividends and is showing in the matches.
Question: You were the favorite going into the NCAA Tournament last season and came up short of the championship. Has that experience made this team hungrier as it heads into the NCAA Tournament?
Inglot: I think so. It makes sure that we don’t get complacent. Maybe that happened a little last year. Hindsight is 20-20, and at the time it didn’t feel like that, but maybe that happened a little. All season long we thought that it was our year and we were going to win it. This year, that isn’t the case. We are taking it one match at a time and don’t expect anything as we go into it. We know that if we play our best, chances are good we are going to win that match.
Question: The last time you were in action, the team was winning its third consecutive ACC Tournament and you were named ACC Tournament MVP. What was that experience like for you?
Inglot: That was probably the best experience of my collegiate career. I always felt like I contributed to the team, but that was the first time I really felt like I was a pillar of the team, a guy that the rest of the team could depend on. It means a lot to me to get the recognition in the form of the MVP award. I was pleased with how I was able to play and it is a tournament that will always mean a lot to me.
Question: Last week the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship fields were announced. You are a seeded player in singles for the second consecutive year and will make your first appearance in the doubles tournament with Michael Shabaz. How does it feel to know that you will get a chance to end your collegiate career later this month playing in both of those tournaments?
Inglot: I am very happy about it. It is always great when you are able to extend your tennis career a little bit longer. Playing tennis on this team has been a privilege and a lot of fun and to have a chance to wear that Virginia uniform a little longer is great. Playing with Michael in doubles has been fun. We have had a lot of success as a team and I think we can continue that in the NCAA Doubles Championship. In singles, I am looking forward for the chance to do better than last year. Unfortunately I lost a tight match in the first round last year. This year I feel like I am healthier than I was last year and I expecting to do better.