Men's tennis: Anteaters hit the courts

Amara Aguilar

They call him "Big Jon." His doubles partner is "Morty."

Both will play in integral role on the UC Irvine men's tennis team

this season.

UCI sophomore Jon Endrikat and freshman Brian Morton were ranked 27th

nationally in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's fall rankings for


"Our games actually really complement each other," Morton said. "Jon

is really consistent, has solid returns and keeps the ball low. I like to

step up and put the ball away. Our games really work well together."

In singles, Endrikat is ranked No. 74 nationally by the ITA. At

6-foot-4, 160 pounds, it might not seem like he can do much damage on the

court, but that would be a misconception.

"He is a very good athlete for kind of a tall, lanky guy, but he's an

extremely tough competitor," UCI Coach Steve Clark said. "That's usually

the first thing people say is that they are amazed at how well he


Endrikat will play No. 2 singles, behind junior transfer Carl Lumsden.

Before coming to UCI, Lumsden attended Georgia State.

"He is a top 10 player from Sweden," Clark said. "He's mainly a

baseliner, but he has a tremendous game and is very competitive."

Playing No. 3 singles will be junior Sean O'Connor, a transfer from

Baylor University.

"He's been an immediate infusion of intensity," Clark said. "He's very

fit, very intense, very focused, just a great guy."

Rounding out the singles players are No. 4 Dontia Haynes, No. 5 Greg

Biorkman and at No. 6 will be Morton.

Haynes has a sprained ankle so is questionable for the Anteaters'

first match.

"We are not sure if he'll be able to play," Clark said. "That would be

a big loss for us. He's in the middle of our lineup and has an all-court

game, serve and volley, and is very aggressive."

In addition to Haynes, Morton will be the only other freshman playing

singles when the season starts. Although Morton is recognized most for

his dominance as a doubles player, Clark said he believes Morton will

also be a solid singles player.

"He was arguably one of the best, if not the best doubles player in

the country as a junior," Clark said. "I also believe that he can be a

very prominent singles player in the college ranks. He just needs to work

on patience and a few things like that because probably shot for shot

he's one of the most talented guys you'll see. He's got everything."

Also on UCI's roster are junior Renouk Wijemanne, who played in the

Davis Cup for Sri Lanka, and sophomore Wkwesi Williams from Texas.

Wijemanne will be the No. 7 singles player for the Anteaters, followed

by Williams.

"Not only are we real solid up top, but we are extremely deep

throughout the lineup," Clark said.

The Anteaters have no seniors and four freshmen included on their

roster. Clark said the squad is young, but many of the freshmen have

experience playing national tennis.

The Anteaters kicked off the season on the road against Furman Friday,

are at Notre Dame today and Michigan Sunday.

Other opponents this season include Georgia Tech, USC and Duke.

"The majority of the time, it's going to be a battle," Clark said.

"The matches are all geared to getting these guys better, so by the end

of the year we've seen the best in the country and know what to expect."

UCI men's tennis roster

Greg Biorkman, Jr.

Arash Bormand, Fr.

Jonathan Endrikat, So.

Gabriel Garcia, So.

Dontia Haynes, Fr.

Raymond Hekmat, So.

Carl Lumsden, Jr.

Brian Morton, Fr.

Sean O'Connor, Jr.

Chris Prentice, Jr.

Peter Surapol, Fr.

Renouk Wijemanne, Jr.

Wkwesi Williams, So.

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