A family win.
That's how head coach Sam Paul described the North Carolina men’s tennis team's success during the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Tar Heels blanked Oklahoma State, 4-0, on Saturday and No. 13 Harvard, 4-1, in the championship match on Sunday to secure their ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
For UNC, its success all boiled down to energy.
The energy of the team, the crowd, the weekend — it all came together to put North Carolina one step closer to winning its third indoor championship, which is the first box on the checklist for the Tar Heels this season.
On Saturday, the Tar Heels were able to quickly dispense of the Cowboys in doubles play to gain the first point. The singles match proved to be more of a challenge, with both Brian Cernoch and Ryan Seggerman, playing on the No. 1 and 2 courts, respectively, trailing at times to their opponents.
One player that remained consistent, however, was first-year Will Jansen, playing at No. 3. Despite only arriving in the U.S. in January, the London native stayed calm throughout all four of his matches, winning each one to help UNC emerge triumphant. He credited his steadfast performance to the boisterous ambiance at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
“It’s quite easy to get pumped when there are so many people watching,” Jansen said. “Last year, in some tournaments, there were like two people watching — your coach and the fitness coach. It's just great to have that amount of support and it really fired us up.”
The left-handed first-year is coming off of a successful junior career, having had the chance to play in high-profile events like the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open junior tournaments, and it’s clear that he is already making his mark on collegiate tennis — and on his teammates.
His teammates play a pivotal role in this call-and-response, cheering on “London” when they aren't on the court themselves.