UNC men's tennis sweeps Saturday matches
For North Carolina men’s tennis players, four wins in one day is an accomplishment to be proud of — but it’s a rare opportunity.
Saturday’s 4-0 victory against Navy and 7-0 victory against James Madison marked one of the few times in past years that No. 23 UNC has played two teams in the same day.
The unusual circumstances allowed coach Sam Paul to look at two different doubles lineups in one day to see how players worked together.
But he knew he could count on doubles pair senior William Parker and freshman Brett Clark.
“They just have good chemistry together, and good chemistry is what we’re looking for on a team,” Paul said.
Parker and Clark know how to win. Seven matches into the season, the men’s tennis doubles partners are undefeated as a duo.
And after a full day of competition in the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, both Parker and Clark added four more victories to their names — two doubles victories together and two singles victories apiece.
Parker said their chemistry comes from a mutual desire to win and help the team out by getting points.
“We feed off each other’s energy,” Parker said. “We get along well on the court. The more you play with someone, the more you learn what they are going to do or where they are going to be on the court.
“You can play off each other.”
Parker said energy and enthusiasm from teammates is critical to the team’s success. As a co-captain, he said he works to win points for the team on the court and supports his teammates from the sidelines when he isn’t playing.
“Everyone has a role, whether they are on the court or off the court,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to play on the court if the guys off the court are excited and pumping you up.”
Clark, who’s in his first season with the team, said the team’s seniors, like Parker, have helped prepare him for collegiate play. The pair practiced and competed together during the fall tournaments.
“In practice the seniors do a great job of motivating us and getting us ready to play in matches,” Clark said.
Clark demonstrated his readiness to compete on his own by winning his singles matches against Navy’s Peter McDonald and JMU’s Greg Vladimirsky.
The Tar Heels have a two-week stretch before their next match, and though Parker and Clark are fast friends, their partnership on the court isn’t set in stone.
Thus far, though, they have proven they’re able to turn in consistent performances.
“They are playing well,” Paul said. “But again, we’re going to play the doubles that’s best for the team to get the points.”
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