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UW tennis looks to continue roll

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s tennis team will look to continue their recent string of success this weekend as they host 57th-ranked Purdue and defending NCAA runner-up Illinois. The Badgers have won six of their last eight matches, including a hard-fought 4-3 victory at 36th-ranked Penn State last Sunday.“That was a big win for us, and it gave us a lot of confidence,” sophomore Moritz Baumann said. “It was tough to play there, everyone fought hard, and we came back and won 4-3.”With the win, the Badgers improved to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play. UW enters this weekend’s matches ranked 48th in the country.“I think overall we’ve played a lot of close matches, and winning that last close match against Penn State really helped us,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “The guys were really excited about that, and guys are just stepping up. I think our best tennis is yet to come, and I think everyone is excited about that, is looking forward to that.”First up for the Badgers on Saturday is Purdue. The Boilermakers enter the match with a 7-7 overall record, and are 1-1 in the Big Ten. Although Purdue comes in having lost its last three matches, the Badgers won’t be overlooking them.“Against Purdue, we have to focus and take care of business,” Baumann said. “Everyone needs to be ready to go and just give 100 percent.”Marek Michalicka, the Badgers’ No. 2 singles player, also expects a competitive match with Purdue.“They will be tough, too. It’s the Big Ten, and Big Ten matches are emotional,” Michalicka said. “I’m expecting it to be tough.”On Sunday, the Badgers will battle 12th-ranked Illinois. The Illini enter the match with a 9-5 record overall, including an unblemished 2-0 in Big Ten play. They have also won four of their last five matches. The Badgers are well aware that it will take a valiant effort to defeat Illinois.“They have a lot of good players. It’s going to be a tough match,” Baumann said. “However, anything is possible. We’ve been playing against top 20 teams and playing them very close. I think we can definitely do it. We have the players to do it.”Although the matches may be tough, the Badgers are hoping to use home court to their advantage. They enter play this weekend boasting an undefeated record at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.“Illinois is one of the best teams in the country,” Michalicka said. “But we’re playing at home, so hopefully people come and hopefully we’ll play tough and fight. We practice every day on these courts, so we’re used to the surface and everything here.”“I definitely think it’s an advantage,” Van Emburgh said. “I think the guys feel comfortable here playing at our place. When guys feel comfortable at home, sometimes they play a little bit better than they normally would.”As they have been in a number of close matches this year, the Badgers know how important it will be to win the doubles competition to gain an early advantage.“The doubles will be key to get that first point,” said Baumann.Winning in doubles will be no easy feat, as Illinois comes in with two doubles teams nationally ranked. Ryan Rowe and Billy Heiser are ranked 22nd in the nation, while the tandem of Brandon Davis and Ruben Gonzales is ranked 32nd.The Badgers are led by 49th-ranked Jeremy Sonkin and Luke Rassow-Kantor, as well as the duo of Baumann and Michalicka.Wisconsin used its time off this week to focus on the basics and to get a little rest, which it hopes will benefit the team this weekend.“The most important thing for us is keeping the guys fresh and healthy and letting them know the importance of every match,” Van Emburgh said. “It’s critical not to underestimate any match. It’s important that we take them one at a time. Saturday at noon versus Purdue is the most important thing for us to focus on right now. After that, hopefully we have some success there, and then we look into Sunday.”last_img read more

James, Cavs spoil Rivers father-son moment with Clippers

first_imgClippers coach Doc Rivers swore he didn’t know that once his son Austin stepped on the floor for the first time as a member of the Clippers, it would be historical because no NBA head coach had ever coached his son on his team.“I didn’t find out until we actually did it,” said Doc Rivers, who doubles as president of basketball operations and brought his son to the Clippers in a three-team trade Thursday. “And I think we had a debate. I’m like, ‘No, someone has.’ I didn’t know who, I just thought it had happened before. I didn’t know that, so making history, well, great.”That history was made when Austin Rivers entered at 2:24 of the first quarter of the Clippers’ game Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who spoiled the party with a 126-121 victory over L.A. at Staples Center.Blake Griffin led the Clippers (26-14) with 34 points and 10 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Matt Barnes scored 17, Chris Paul had 15 points and 13 assists and J.J. Redick scored 14. Austin Rivers shot 0 of 4 for zero points and one assist in 11 minutes. Kryrie Irving led Cleveland (21-20) with 37 points and LeBron James scored 32. Tristan Thompson had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Kevin Love (back spasms) did not play.The Rivers duo met with reporters prior to the tip-off. There were many questions to be asked and answered. One of seemingly vital importance was how the dynamic is going to work in the locker room. When told this was something on the minds of many, Doc Rivers said he doesn’t care about the concerns of others.“Well, as long as it’s not on our minds in there,” Doc Rivers said. “We don’t care about the other people outside the locker room, we really don’t. It doesn’t matter to us.“But you do think about all that stuff. But you do that with every single deal, which nobody gets. You really do. There are times when I’ve brought the right guys in the locker room and it’s worked and there’s been times that I haven’t and it hasn’t worked.”Austin Rivers intimated that the idea his father may play him more than he deserves, thus ticking off others on the team, is somewhat insulting. “My dad is too focused on his thing for that to even be an issue,” said Austin Rivers, who will come off the bench. “It’s almost like a disrespectful thing to my dad. My dad would never, ever play me over somebody because I’m his son.“If I’m not playing well, he’s going to sit me. I’m sitting on the bench, you know what I mean? He wants to win.”The younger Rivers gave an example that brought laughter.“My dad is the type of guy that when I was 5 years old, we’d play checkers and he would not let me win,” Austin Rivers, 22, said. “It’s just kind of how he is, so he’s not doing any favors for me. I’ve gotta earn everything here.”Interestingly, both men had said in the past they weren’t sure if they would be interested in this scenario. Austin Rivers admitted he still wasn’t 100 percent certain about it when the subject was first broached.“To be honest, I never thought something like this would happen and then he called me up and he asked me, ‘Is this something you might be interested in because we need you,’” Austin Rivers said. “And when I heard that, it was one of those kinds of things where I had to think, I had to take a day to myself and say, ‘Can this work?’ “He got on the horn.“First thing I did was call my mom (Kristen),” Austin Rivers said. “She’s the one that’s gotta deal with this and she was a wreck the first night (it was discussed). She was calling me, ‘Well, what if this happens?’ I was like, ‘Mom, it’s not on anybody but me and him.’”Doc Rivers also had a conversation with Kristen Rivers.“Obviously, we talked about it before we were going to do it and she was good with it, so she gave me her blessing,” Doc Rivers said, drawing more laughter.One thing’s certain, this will change the relationship of Doc and Austin Rivers. Not necessarily in a bad way.“I think the biggest difference is now that I’m his coach, he actually has to listen to me,” Doc Rivers said. “Now, I would say on his part, he’s probably thinking any kid will listen to their parent if they pay him.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more