Three matches in four days is a lot of tennis, especially when you’re playing singles and doubles in those three matches. This heavy workload is first-year Noah Foreman’s reality. Foreman, who plays at No. 1 singles, felt like this weekend demonstrated one of his best performances, despite being both physically and mentally exhausted.
“In the past I usually give it my all the first day to start the weekend off well, but that didn’t really work out this time, and I had a rough loss Thursday,” Foreman said. “But it was a good mental test to see how well I could perform later on in the weekend.” With the Thursday loss against Colorado Mesa University, Foreman had to persevere through his emotions and not let the tough less get in the way of bringing his “A” game to the second and third match of the weekend. Fortunately, Foreman succeeded in doing so. “I improved as the weekend went on opposed to deteriorating because my body is stronger now due to strength training,” he said.
Strength training and conditioning are major components when facing DII and DI schools. On Saturday the tennis team played Sonoma State University, showing major improvement from their Thursday match against Colorado Mesa.
“We competed much stronger in doubles, and even though we lost 2-7 in that match, the performance overall was much better,” said Head Coach Anthony Weber. When the Tigers faced off against Hastings College on Sunday, all their hard work paid off and they walked away with a 5-4 win. “We hadn’t beaten Hastings in about five years, and it seemed like the gap had been widening,” Weber said. “But then this year we got them, so that was a great way to finish off the weekend.”
At No. 1 singles, there is constant pressure to perform well. For Foreman, No. 1 singles is a position he’s had to adjust to, as he didn’t play that high on the ladder in high school. “I feel like it has developed me as a leader even though I’m not a captain and probably won’t be for a couple more years,” said Foreman. “I try to inspire people by the fight that I put up.”
Weber was impressed by Foreman’s performance over the weekend. “It was good to see that he could pull himself up on his own,” he said. “Foreman put himself in a good position in the start of the matches and rode that momentum through on both Saturday and Sunday.” Weber also acknowledged that Foreman entering his first year as the No. 1 singles player puts him in a tough position because “every single school has a real legit number one.” In order for matches to even be close, day in and day out you have to compete your best, according to Weber.
Even though many schools have unbelievably talented No. 1 singles players, Foreman actually prefers being the underdog. “I personally like knowing I’m going up against a tough opponent because it opens the door for possible upsets,” Foreman said. “Instead of admitting defeat right then and there, I think it’s more fun to fantasize about what could happen. This allows me to play in a more free mental state.” And this is the case for most matches because not only is the men’s tennis team not ranked as highly as some of their DIII opponents, but they often play DII and even DI schools. “I never get down on myself before matches, it’s never over until it’s over,” said Foreman.
Foreman thrives when playing singles but admits to struggling when playing doubles. “In a singles position I can focus on myself and my game because each point doesn’t have an effect on my teammates,” he said. “But in doubles it’s harder for me because when I mess up I know it affects my doubles partner as well.” This challenge is good for Foreman though, and he feels like the combination of playing doubles and No. 1 singles has really helped him grow this year. “It’s developed me as a tennis player because I’ve obviously gotten better from playing better players,” Foreman said. “It’s also developed me as a person because I’ve learned to never give up.” Foreman also claims that No. 1 singles has taught him how to show strength even when he feels intimidated or dejected during a match.
The tennis season is at its peak right now, and the next few weeks should be interesting for the men’s tennis team. They recently fell out of regional ranking, but with several wins in the near future they could easily turn that around.
“Austin College, who’s the first team we will play during our conference matches, moved into the 18th spot last week, so there’s a price tag on the match,” Weber said. “I think the guys will be really jacked to play them because they could take their regional ranking back with a win.” Achieving a regional ranking is definitely possible for the team’s future, especially if Foreman can continue bringing his determination and motivation to the matches.