UR men’s tennis reached the round of 16 at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Drew University Saturday, on Oct. 1.
Propelled forward in the bracket by senior Kai Yuminaga and sophomore Krish Vennam, both players’ singles tournament runs were cut short in the third round. Yuminaga lost to RPI’s Aidan Droven-Mattinen, currently ranked ninth in Division III in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. On the other hand, Vennam lost to TCNJ’s Matt Michibata in a third-set tiebreaker, 10-5.
The Campus Times was able to interview senior and team captain Kenneth Lee about the team’s experience at the championships and his experience this semester on the team.
1) What was it like to be at the tournament? Have you attended/played in regional tournaments prior to this?
It was a fun time going to this tournament — [it was a] long bus ride, but it was a good time for all of us to bond and enjoy time away from school together. Two weeks ago, we went to play an invitational tournament at Saint Lawrence University where we had good results and were able to witness the level of play we were going up against this year.
2) How has this season of tennis been for the team?
This season so far has been pretty good. Like I said, we were able to attend SLU invitational and go to ITAs with pretty good results — not the best, but also not the worst. We have seven freshmen on this team, so it’s good for the new guys to play collegiate-level tennis and get the experience they need to do well in the spring.
3) What was it like to watch Vennam and Yuminaga fall in the round of 16?
[It] was definitely tough. They both had tough opponents as Yuminaga played the top-ranked player in the tournament and Vennam played the 8th-ranked player. Although tough, they both put up good fights. Yuminaga was off to a good start staying neck and neck with his opponent but could not deliver the final blows. Vennam was explosive off the start, winning the first set 6-2. However, TCNJ’s Matthew Michibata was able to adjust his game and win the next sets in the tiebreaker. Hard fought battles all around, but fell just short.
4) Given that you’ve torn your rotator cuff, what was it like to be part of the team but not actively playing at the tournament?
It’s tough being injured, but being a captain of this team, it was fun watching the guys compete and having the opportunity to coach young talent was definitely a good experience. It was hard not being able to compete, but I was happy to be there. I am excited for the spring and look forward to competing this season!