Ronnie Schneider was the only member of the North Carolina men's tennis team to compete in this weekend's ITA National Individual Indoor Championship.
On Thursday, the senior fell to Ohio State's Hugo Di Feo in straight sets (6-4, 7-5). He also lost the first match in the consolation ladder, where he dropped a three-set thriller against Texas' Yuya Ito, 7-6 (7), 1-6, 6-3.
Staff Writer Chapel Fowler spoke to Schneider about his both his opponents and his own performance.
The Daily Tar Heel: You advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship as a sophomore in 2014, but lost in the first round this year. Do you think the competition got better? How do you think you played?
Ronnie Schneider: In a tournament like this, the competition is always really, really, good. It’s probably the top 30 guys in the country. So, it’s not that I’m worse now than I was then. Contrarily, I feel like I’m even better. It’s just maybe a little bit of (bad) luck that I had some chances in my matches, but just couldn’t (convert). I don’t think I played up to my level, for sure. But (Di Feo) was really good, I gotta tell you. He got to the (final of the ITA All-Americans Tournament) a month ago. He’s obviously doing something right.
It was a really close match, and that’s kind of how it goes. Just need to keep going — the good thing about tennis is there’s always another tournament or season to look forward to. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed. But you just gotta keep it in perspective. These are the best guys in college tennis and you’re not going to win every single one.
DTH: Your first match against Di Feo was very close. Did he outplay you, or was it more you not playing at your best?
RS: I think he played really well. But I don’t think I played up to my level either.
I didn’t play well in the big points. A lot of college tennis uses (no-advantage) format, so you need to play well in the big points. I really didn’t convert — I had chances. In the second set, I had a game point (that I didn’t convert). You know, it’s just kind of a point here and there—then all of the sudden, you’ve lost. Just kind of how it goes sometimes. You can’t worry about it, just keep moving forward.
DTH: In the first round of the consolation bracket, you faced Yuta Ito of Texas, the tournament’s No. 6 seed. That match was even closer. Do you think you played better in that match compared to your first match?
RS: I definitely played better. That match against Ito … I mean, I had set point in the first set, and plenty of chances. I fought hard — just couldn’t quite get it. But you know, that’s kind of how it goes. I played well, very well, in the second set.
Overall, I did a good job of winning my serve — I play well with my serve. I’m always looking for opportunities on (my opponents’) serves because I do a decent job of breaking them. Holding my own serve sometimes…that’s what caused me little issues in both the matches. But I definitely thought I played better against (Ito). Again, obviously he’s a very good player … the little bit you’re off — he’s going to take advantage of it.