Q&A with Andres Pedroso
The top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team travels to Cary, N.C., for this week’s ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers are looking to win their fifth consecutive ACC title and will open play in the quarterfinals against either Florida State or Maryland on Friday at 9 a.m. Virginiasports.com talked with assistant coach Andres Pedroso to review the regular season and preview the tournament.
Question: This is your first season on the coaching staff at Virginia. When you came in, you obviously were aware of the success of the program in recent years, but was this the level you expected?
Pedroso: It has been what I expected. What Brian [Boland] and [former associate head coach] Tony [Bresky] created here was a culture of winning that I have never really seen before in any place I have worked. It is impressive how the guys compete at such a high level, no matter the situation or pressure. They are just true competitors and that is the most impressive thing I have noticed in my time here.
Question: Many of the ACC records that this program is breaking are ones that were set by Duke in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when you were playing for the Blue Devils. How does this Virginia program compare to the Duke teams you were a part of?
Pedroso: It is hard to compare teams from two different eras. The teams I played on at Duke, especially my senior year [in 2001], had some really good players and we had a lot of success. Like I said, I have never seen a group of guys compete as hard as this year’s team does and that has led to a lot of our success.
Question: You came to Virginia after working for the USTA, coaching at times some top level professional players. How does that background help you coach now at the collegiate level?
Pedroso: Honestly, we have done a great job of preparing this season. What Brian, [volunteer assistant coach] Scott [Brown] and I have tried to do is train these guys as pros as much as possible. We have given them a consistent dose of tennis and fitness, almost every day. We have backed that up with conversations with them to make sure their perspective is right and they are emotionally centered. We have tried to create a culture of professionalism here that will help both now and when they graduate and head out on the pro tour.
Question: The team has had to overcome a few injuries in recent weeks. How does the fact that some players have had to play higher in the lineup and others have entered the lineup in recent matches going to help the team as a whole in the postseason?
Pedroso: It has been great. Brian has been saying all year that this team needs to face adversity. That the more adversity we face, the more comfortable we are going to be in the tough situations in May, and even now at the end of April at the ACC Tournament. We welcomed those challenges and we feel like it is only going to make us better. Everyone has played a ton of matches this year and is ready to step up and play if needed.
Question: This week you are participating in your first ACC Tournament in 10 years. Are you excited to get back to the event as a coach for the first time?
Pedroso: It is going to fun. The guys are really excited and keep saying what a fun event the ACC Tournament is for them every year. The ACC has gotten very tough this year and there are a lot of really good teams in this conference. We feel like we are well prepared and we are looking forward to getting down there and having some fun.