Q & A with Head Coach Matt Anger
March 8, 2001
Q: The USTA/ITA Team Indoor Championships were a huge success. Talk about what it means for the team and the program:
A: "The tournament was successful, but I have to look at it from different levels. As a coach, it was great for our team. We did pull off a couple of great wins over No. 4 Georgia and No. 8 Florida, but had a tough loss to No. 5 Duke. That one was really tough and I think the guys suffered a little in losing that match. We knew we were playing the best teams in the country, so the guys didn't feel bad in that sense, but they felt like the matches were close, we just couldn't pull any of them out. I think it was good for the fans to see us playing against the top college teams and now we know what we have to do to succeed. Also, it was great for the school and for people to see that Washington can compete at that level. We had the tournament two years ago, but this year we really made them believers."
Q: Will Washington be considered in the future years to host the tournament again?
A: "I am hoping we will be able to host in 2003, but that is up for the ITA to decide and I'm not sure of the process that will work that out."
Q: The latest ITA team rankings have the Huskies at No. 6, the highest mark in school history. Talk about what that means for the team.
A: "Well, it's all relative. If you're ranked 36th, you want to be 26th, and if you're ranked 26th, you want to be 16th, and so on. I think its a nice thing for the people who have been working so hard to support this team, showing them that this can happen at Washington, for a fact. I think it's also good for the players. It's not only a pat on the back, but a confirmation that they are headed in the right direction. But, the season keeps going, and if we are not pushing to get better, people are going to be passing us by."
Q: What is the biggest difference between this team and previous teams?
A: "If you were to compare this team to last years team, you wouldn't see a big difference, as far as names on the roster. In our matches last weekend for instance, we had five of the same six players starting as we did last season. I think with these guys, there is a certain character about them. They are very smart, they play with a lot of heart, and they just keep fighting out on the court. Two years ago, on paper, you may have thought that that was our best team, but they didn't have the character that this team does. And I think that shows up over time."
Q: How would you like to see your team improve over the next couple of months?
A: "To start with, and this has been a season-long theme, we would like to see our doubles play improve. We have improved and have had glimpses of being where I would like us to be, but we need to be more consistent. Just when I think we are playing well and capable of wining the doubles point, we come out and play poorly, tentatively, and on our heels. I'm hoping we can break through that."
Q: Talk about the Spring Break trip to Hawaii this year.
A: "Hawaii is probably the most talked about trip, but we do have a couple of difficult matches to play. It seems wherever we go the weather is never good, so I have this bad feeling that there might be a couple of rainouts. It will be nice for the guys because they have had three very tough weeks, in the indoor tournament and then playing on the road for the following two weekends. They are a little tired tennis-wise and academically. We have a break right now so they can get caught up on their classes and then going to Hawaii will be a nice refresher."
Q: Recently you reached 100 career wins at Washington. Looking back, what has been the best moment of your career?
A: "For us as a program, there are highlights and lowlights. A match that I will always remember was when we beat UCLA and showed everyone that we were capable of competing with the best teams in the nation. Also, the win against Georgia in the tournament this year was great because two years ago we had match point against them and lost. Two years ago we also had match point and lost to UCLA. So those four matches are the most memorable to me, and it's funny that two of them involve Georgia and two of them involve UCLA. But program-wise, two of those stand out as giving us some recognition, and the other two that we didn't get, I would love to go back and play a couple of points over again."
Q: Has your coaching style changed at all since your first year at Washington?
A: "It changes all the time, depending on the guys and how they change over time. You have to do a lot of things as a team, but when you go on court, you have to play as an individual, so we have to work with that individual. There are certain staples that I do to prepare for practices or matches, but once I get out there to practice with someone, that always changes."