Q&A with Drew Courtney
This week the top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team looks for its fourth consecutive ACC Tournament title when it travels to Cary, N.C. The Cavaliers, who won their seventh consecutive ACC regular season title, open play Friday at 9 a.m. against the winner of the Miami/NC State first-round match. VirginiaSports.com caught up with sophomore Drew Courtney to preview the tournament and discuss the season thus far.
Question: With the emphasis that this program puts on winning championships, how excited are you to start the postseason?
Courtney: I am so excited. This is the time of the year we play for. The season is kind of long and there are a lot of matches, but it is definitely fun to get that part of the season out of the way and start the postseason. We are working hard this week to get ready for it and it should be fun.
Question: The team just completed its fourth consecutive 11-0 ACC regular season and is looking for its fourth consecutive ACC Tournament title. Is there a lot of pride in keeping those streaks in tact?
Courtney: It is in the back of our minds, but it isn’t something we really think about. It is something to take pride in. The ACC is a great conference with a lot of talented teams and players and to win as many matches as we have is a great accomplishment. It is something we hope to keep going this weekend.
Question: With the success you have had, how do you handle the fact that you play every match with a target on your back and you know you are going to get every team’s best effort?
Courtney: That is what happens when you are the No. 1 team. It is your job to go out every match and prove that you are the best. You know that your opponent is going to give you their best effort every match, so you need to be ready every single day. In some ways that is difficult, but it is also a great challenge and those challenges are what make you a better player.
Question: Midway through the dual match season, the doubles teams were mixed up and you started playing with Michael Shabaz. As a duo you have had some good results and will likely make the NCAA Doubles Tournament. How has that partnership developed?
Courtney: It has come together really well. Lee [Singer] and I were playing well earlier in the year, but coach wanted to change some things and I started playing with Shabaz. He and I have bonded well, have had some success and are having some fun out there. We like to use our serves to our advantage and take control. As we continue to play together longer, I feel like we are becoming a stronger team.
Question: Last year was your first ACC Tournament. As you prepare for your second, is it any different now that you know what to expect?
Courtney: Last year I went into it knowing I was going to give 110 percent in every match and that is the same this year. I know what to expect now in terms of the atmosphere and the facility, but that doesn’t really change my approach on the court. My plan is to go out there, play well and get the job done for my team.