[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Today I had the privilege of being a part of “the media” and going to watch the 6th ranked men’s tennis team take on the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. UK did a wonderful job in making Hilary J Boone Tennis Center fan friendly and really just a great post-season atmosphere for tennis enthusiasts. Growing up in Lexington and playing the sport of tennis myself, I know that this city has a huge underground following of this sport and it was great to see a large number of people come out today and rally behind a team that has really done some historic things this season with a bevy of spectacular players.
The final score today was 4-0 after the Wildcats clinched it, but it wasn’t as easy as that indicates. Tom Jomby won on court 4 in 3 sets, and many of the points on all the courts were insanely long, both teams putting a fantastic effort into tournament play. 3rd ranked player in the nation Eric Quigley put together a marvelous match, easily dispatching Indiana’s Isade Juneau 6-1 6-0. Watching Quigley play is truly an honor. I can’t imagine being able to hit some of the shots he does, and the composure with which he plays is incredible. He just goes out there, and simply dominates.
Grant Roberts on court 6 was the match clincher, as he won 6-4 6-3. Roberts is a Lexington native, hailing from Tates Creek High School, so it must be special for him to play in his hometown and help to bring the Wildcats to such high levels of success this season. It’s really weird to see him don the blue and white and play a big part on the team because I actually played Roberts my junior year of high school. Needless to say it didn’t go too well…
When asked about Eric Quigley and finishing up his last match playing at home for UK Coach Emery said, “Really, above all of that he’s probably one of the most productive players that we’ve ever had. In singles and doubles, he’s a five-time All-American. There’s really almost no way you can describe what he’s done for us and our program. I think he took it from, we had a good culture, but no we have a championship culture.”
After making it this far, the Cats are far from finished. They lost in the Elite 8 last year, but have their sights on bigger and better things. “We went to the Elite Eight last year, and we’re going to Athens with a real chance to go further,” Emery said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we have the athletic ability, the composure as well as the experience that I think we can do it.”
The Wildcats will now take on the winner of 11th ranked Stanford and unranked Santa Clara who play tomorrow. The Sweet 16 match up will take place next Friday in Athens, Georgia. The Wildcats lost to the Cardinal earlier this year, in what was a fluke of a match as the lower seeds for UK just fell apart. I guarantee Coach Emery will have a new and improved game plan if the match indeed happens next week.
Here are a few pictures I took today from the NCAA Tournament in Lexington.
Mr. Wildcat himself, Eric Quigley
Too legit to quit
An aerial view seating allowed fans to watch courts 3-6 all at once, a great touch to the tournament
Oh hey, Mr. and Mrs. Quigley
Lexington native, Grant Roberts
Frenchman Tom Jomby
UK’s 3rd singles player, Anthony Rossi
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