SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men’s tennis team will get their first taste of competition during the Friday-Sunday fall season at the Roadrunner Invitational.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)-sanctioned tournament features some of the top teams in the nation, including Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Miami, SMU, and Oklahoma State, as well as other competitive teams the Vaqueros regularly face, such as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Incarnate Mot and UTSA host. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the UTSA Tennis Center. Draws and tournament schedules will be available later and updated here.
“I expect to see very good focus and good energy. We’ve done a lot of very hard work and I think we’ll see that come out,” head coach Nathan Robinson said. “This tournament is tough. UTSA has put on a hell of a tournament and there will be some good players and a lot of competitive tennis. Our guys are really excited. It will be a good chance for us to get a feel for where we are and fix this. first bar for ourselves.”
Junior Emilien Burnel is one of four newcomers keen to make his UTRGV debut at the Roadrunner Invitational, along with other transfer sophomores Karlo Krolo and the first collegiate competitors in the second year Borna Devald and freshman Augustin Salazar. It will be a little different playing in the Texas heat than what Burnel is used to, but he feels up to the challenge and is ready to give the Vaqueros a taste of what he brings to the team. .
“It will be my first time playing in hot weather so I will have to adapt. But we have been training hard for a few weeks now so hopefully I am ready for that.” said Burnel. “My serve is one of my best weapons, as well as my forehand and I also like to cushion. I will try to use those skills as best I can. I think the whole team is ready to compete and to give the best of itself.”
As the fall season kicks into full gear starting with the Roadrunner Invitational, the Vaqueros will focus on growing and finding their strengths and areas they need to work on during the season.
“All these new guys, we’re super excited to see what they’re up to. We want to see our returns continue to grow on what we’ve been building on over the last year,” Robinson said. “Te Kani Williams is in the best shape he’s ever had. Chris Lawrance hit the ball well and Sam Whitehead is in a really good space mentally, so I think it’s going to be really fun to watch these guys compete and see where we are and grow from there.”