Even though men’s tennis didn’t get the results it was hoping for at regionals, the team did get its first victory from senior Adam Taylor.
The Fall Regional Tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee is the largest event the team will compete in this year. Head Coach Mel Purcell said the victory by Taylor could propel him to more.
“It was a huge confidence builder for (Adam) to win his first match,” Purcell said. “Tennis is all about confidence, so getting a win proves that you are doing the right things and making the right decisions.”
The senior from Toronto, Canada, has had a busy fall season competing in the team’s two tournaments and in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships. Purcell took his only senior to show that he could compete with the best in the country.
While Taylor’s stay in the tournament was short-lived, the experience could lead to more success this season. Taylor lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to a player from Penn State.
“Last year I had a lot of close matches with some top players, so the tournament showed me that I can compete with some great players,” Taylor said. “It didn’t work out for me at the tournament but I played well and gave myself a chance to win, and it gave me confidence for the rest of the season.”
Purcell calls Taylor the team’s leader on and off the court, not because he is the only senior but because of his work ethic. His work ethic comes from his upbringing in Canada, where he was a hockey player, Taylor said.
While Taylor said he dreamed of playing hockey, his parents thought it would be safer for him to change sports.
“I was 15 and really small and playing high-level hockey, and my parents said I was going to get killed, so I picked up a racket,” Taylor said. “I ended up growing six inches that year, so it was a letdown, but it has worked out so far.”
The work ethic wasn’t the only thing that hockey provided Taylor. It also gave him an intensity on the court.
“He is real emotional and real intense in the way he plays,” Purcell said. “Sometimes I have to calm him down and make him focus on playing one point at a time.”
Taylor credits Purcell for helping him take the next step in his abilities. Taylor came to Murray State last season after spending two years at Tyler Junior College, where the team finished second in the nation twice.
“He taught me to focus more and slowed the game down,” Taylor said. “He has me working more with my feet and it has helped my game a lot.”
At the regional tournament, Taylor defeated his opponent from Tennessee Tech 6-4, 6-2. Taylor dropped the first set to his Memphis opponent 6-0.
He started off strong in the second set, leading 2-0, but his Memphisopponent rallied and sent Taylor home with a 6-2 loss.
Taylor says that while this year has been a struggle for him and the team, it will benefit the team when conference play rolls around in the spring.
“We have to keep working hard because we have had tough tournaments and haven’t had any easy matches,” Taylor said. “The matches will be easier in conference play because of these tournaments in the fall.”
The team dropped all its other matches at the tournament, but did have a close match in the doubles portion with Taylor and junior Max McLean.
The Racer duo led Purdue 4-2 in their match, but couldn’t hold off the Big Ten team and fell 8-6. Purcell was proud of the effort the pair put up against its opponent.
“Adam and Max play very well together, so I’m looking forward to seeing how those two play the rest of the year,” Purcell said.
The team has a few weeks to prepare for the Kenlake-Murray State Invitational Nov. 1-3.
Story by Tom Via, Staff Writer