Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By SYDNEY OCKER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Josh Silverstein’s first appearance at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American Championships will end a 14-year University of Iowa men’s tennis drought.
The ITA All-American Championships begin tomorrow with the pre-qualifying bracket, but Silverstein won’t be competing. Based on his record from last season and his top spot with the Hawkeyes, Silverstein was automatically placed in the qualifying bracket.
He’ll begin play Monday, Oct. 3, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“The tournament is long so it’s great not to have to play those first three rounds and exert the energy,” said UI head coach Ross Wilson. “He can get in and practice Sunday, get some rest, and be fresh and ready to go Monday in the qualifying round.”
The last Hawkeye to skip the prequalifying bracket was Stuart Waters in 2002. Last season, Robin Haden was the first Hawkeye to advance past prequalifying since 2011.
“This is the second year in a row that we have had someone in the qualifying so it shows the improvements that we’re making individually and as a team,” said Wilson. “It shows consistency as well.”
Silverstein says he is ready to keep improving and wants to help his team in Tulsa next week.
“I feel confident,” said Silverstein. “I feel like I’m practicing well and am excited for this tournament.”
The ITA All-American Championships is the first of three major fall tournaments Silverstein prepared for over the summer.
“I know it has been one of Josh’s goals to get into the qualifying and hopefully advance to the main draw,” said Wilson. “If he can beat some nationally-ranked players, he’ll be able to finish the fall nationally-ranked. This is a big first step to be able to accomplish his goals.”
Over the summer, Silverstein was playing for himself, but he hopes his team can benefit from his success.
“I want this to be my best year and I feel like if that happens it could be the best year for the team,” said Silverstein.
Last season, Silverstein started at No. 3 singles and won eight matches before being moved up to No. 2 position for a brief stint. He finished the season playing at No. 1, collecting four wins and finishing his sophomore campaign with a win over 133rd-ranked Alex Knight of Michigan.
“I’ve been getting in a lot of practice sets in preparation for this year,” said Silverstein. “The two biggest things that I have been working on has been my serve and mental game.”
The mental side of tennis has been what Silverstein has focused on the most.
“I believe I’m ahead of where I was mentally this summer,” said Silverstein. “I’ve set myself up for the best results.
“It’s my first fall tournament. I want to give it my all and represent Iowa well.”
Fans can follow Silverstein’s progress through live streaming here: http://streamingtennis.com/Tulsa/.