Special: Men’s tennis team has high hopes for season

The TCU men’s tennis team said it is beginning the 2006 season with high expectations.”I believe we have a great squad,” head coach Joey Riv‚ said .

Last weekend, the team proved just how good they could be by defeating No. 36-ranked Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.

“It was a great start to win last weekend in the first match of the season,” Riv‚ said. “I am very pleased, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”

The Horned Frogs welcome three newcomers to the team: freshmen Andrei Mlendea, Kriegler Brink and Cosmin Cotet.

“Mlendea and Cotet, both from Romania, have a lot of playing experience.,” Riv‚ said. “Brink (from South Africa) is also really experienced, but they could all really improve a lot.”

Senior Rafael Abreu said his new teammates have been a good addition to the team.

“I can feel a lot of energy from the new guys,” Abreu said.

Junior Radu Barbu said he knows Mlendea and Cotet because they are from his home country of Romania.

“It is my job to make them feel as part of the team,” Bardu said.

Both Bardu and Abreu said they have similar individual and team goals for the season.

“We have three new guys who are unbelievably good, and right now we have high expectations,” Abreu said. “As a senior, I want to win the conference championship.”

Bardu said he wants to win conference as well but also wants the team to be ranked in the Top 20.

Abreu’s team goals stretch beyond just winning conference and being ranked.

“I want to go to the NCAA tournament in singles and doubles and then advance to at least the Sweet 16,” Abreu said.

Riv‚ said he hopes his team has a successful season, but his main goal is always the development of the players and helping them improve.

“I am counting on all of the players to perform well,” Riv‚ said.