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Syracuse adjusts to outdoor playing conditions for Wake Forest, Virginia Tech matchups

first_imgIn its most recent match, Syracuse found itself in a different environment than normal, and not because it was an away match.“It was really sunny, and obviously we’re not used to that, living in Syracuse,” said senior Amanda Rodgers, a contributing writer for The Daily Orange.The sun was an atypical factor for the Orange, a team that usually plays indoors, in that 7-0 loss against Florida State on March 29.Syracuse (7-9, 2-8 Atlantic Coast) has had to adjust to the conditions of outdoor tennis only two times so far in its 2015 ACC schedule, against FSU and North Carolina, and will have to do the same in matches against Wake Forest (12-11, 2-9 Atlantic Coast) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at noon on Saturday and with Virginia Tech (12-7, 4-6) on Sunday at 10 a.m.Part of the difficulty in transitioning from indoor to outdoor tennis lies in players’ vision, and the sun is a large part of that. It can be difficult to play while staring into sunlight, as senior Komal Safdar notices when she plays doubles with sophomore Valeria Salazar.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We do get lobbed a lot, especially with our heights,” Safdar said, “but more outdoors because you do use that tactic of trying to make your person hit the ball looking into the sun.”Another factor that comes into playing outdoors is the wind, which can significantly alter strategy.When the wind is moving against the ball, the player has to focus on hitting the ball farther over the net. But when the wind’s direction is pushing the ball forward, players need to put more topspin on the ball so that it stays in play.“Also when you’re with the wind, chipping and charging, coming (in)to the net, keeping the ball low is also a play,” Safdar said. “But at the end of the day when it is windy you just have to be ready to win ugly, honestly.”Even when players aren’t hitting into the wind, the conditions are slower outdoors than they are indoors. As a result, players need to be prepared to play longer rallies than they would when playing inside. Safdar said shots that would commonly be winners in Drumlins are more likely to be returned outdoors because of the increased weight of the ball.Heading into the match against Florida State, head coach Younes Limam talked to his players about these conditions.“One of the biggest things that we needed to be aware of is we needed to be more patient,” Limam said, “and we needed to expect rallies to go a little bit longer and really be selective.”This mindset includes what Limam called controlled aggression, meaning an understanding of which points players should go for offensively and which points they should take their time with.Limam recognizes the challenges of moving from indoor to outdoor tennis, but he tries to prepare his team. He generally has his players arrive the day before the match so they can familiarize themselves with the conditions before they play. He also likes to practice outdoors at the Skytop courts when the weather allows it, which hasn’t been the case very often this season.The differences between indoor and outdoor tennis certainly force SU to adjust its playing style when having to deal with the wind and sun.Still, it doesn’t negate the basic fundamentals that Syracuse has relied on throughout the season.“Honestly it doesn’t really make a huge difference,” Rodgers said. “Because if you focus on hitting more balls in the court and just having longer points and you just have that mindset playing outdoors, then you’re going to do fine.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 8, 2015 at 9:03 pm Contact Kevin: [email protected]last_img read more