By Kenji Koyama
The Roosevelt University Lakers mens and womens tennis teams have been around since 2010, and this season brings alumus Lucian Tabic as the new head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams.
Tabic joined the program in November 2013 and said he is ready to be a leader for the athletes in order to improve the teams’ presences on and off the court.
Tabic told the Torch about his plans for the men’s team this season.
“Our immediate game plan is to focus on improving our execution and mental preparation and competing with focus as a team in doubles play and in our singles matches,” he said. “Part of that focus is maintaining a positive attitude on the court, competing with confidence and enjoying the experience of representing Roosevelt University.”
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams do not have an easily accessible indoor facility for practice matches.
“We currently play our home matches at [the] Grant Park tennis courts,” he said. “During the winter months, we practice at Midtown Tennis Club. It has been a struggle that the athletes have been able to overcome.”
Tabic said he wants to keep building the program to acquire a facility. Aside from these developments, the team wants to take a small-steps approach to progress on the courts.
“As a team, we started our journey together with the philosophy of quantifiable progress,” he said. “Whether in daily practice or a match, we concentrate on all variables within our control, that is to say our effort, our progressions, both physical and mental, to ultimately strive towards consistent improvements on the tennis courts.”
Brett Hoffman, captain of the men’s tennis team, spoke about the direction of the program.
“What I am trying to gear for is getting the team ready for the future,” Hoffman said. “I know my goal as captain is to be there for the guys on and off the court.”
Although Hoffman plays on both the basketball team and the tennis team, he finds the time to practice with his fellow tennis players once a week.
February is all about practice for the team.
“Once spring break rolls around, we will be waist deep in matches,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman credits the tennis team and coaches for his success.
“I’ve never taken any tennis lessons — I always played for fun,” he said. “I started playing for the tennis team in the fall of 2012. With the support of the players and coaches at Roosevelt, I have turned into a legitimate collegiate tennis player.”
While tennis may not be the most followed sport at Roosevelt, there is some interest in supporting the team.
Roosevelt alumnus Jonathan Zuluaga, for example, said he supports the team even after having graduated last semester.
“I know of a few people on the team,” he said. “It would be great if [the university] could get more people to games, as well. I don’t know how, but [the school needs] to get more involved in sports.”
Interested students and faculty can expect games to start in March. Schedules for both teams can be found on the school’s athletic website.