Congratulations to the UBC Men’s Tennis Team for winning the 2022 Western Canadian University Championships! This is the first Western Canadian title in the program’s history and ended in an epic, 4-3 victory against the University of Alberta, the defending national champions. This title qualifies UBC for the National Championships this summer in Montreal, where they will compete against three other top universities in the country during the same week as the National Bank Open.
The matchup started with three pro-set doubles matches to determine the first point. UBC’s James Cross and Ryan Picken played #1 doubles and lost a tough match against their UofA opponents. UBC then bounced back with an 8-6 win at #3 doubles from partners Graeme McIntosh and David Zoric. The first point came down to the #2 doubles where partners Isaac Dee and Martin Lorayes lost a thrilling match, 8-7(6). This gave UofA a 1-0 lead, forcing UBC to win 4/6 singles matches to secure the tie. #5 Isaac Dee started off with a convincing straight sets win. This was followed by a 3 set thriller as #3 David Zoric gave UBC a 2-1 lead. Next, UBC #1 Andrew Oh and #2 Nishant Mehta fell short against their opponents, while #6 Ryan Picken, with some incredible tennis, won his match in straight sets. At 3-3, all eyes were on #4 Graeme McIntosh to determine the overall outcome. After being down a set and a break, as well as being two points away from losing in the deciding third set, Graeme, with some unbelievable shot-making was able to come back and win 7:6(5), clinching the victory and sending UBC to the National Championships. The team was led by coaches Maximillan Besworth, Barak Jacob, Stefan Lazarevic and Gregory Kuntjoro, as well as captains Noah Bettauer and David Zoric, who all helped establish a positive high performance culture at UBC.
UofA has long been UBC’s main obstacle in qualifying for nationals, so the team was determined to put in countless hours on and off the court throughout the year to give themselves every chance. This victory means a lot to the UBC team. They’re a group that describe themselves as playing for each other, due to a bond that goes far beyond the tennis court. Perhaps the best example of this can be seen in their pre-game huddle, where instead of shouting “UBC,” they yelled “Family,”. At UBC, tennis is not a varsity sport, meaning the players have to organize and fund nearly everything themselves. They coordinate fundraisers, competitions, travel, practices, equipment, social media, finances, etc. – everything they do is student-led. Even coaches go out of their way to pay out of their own pockets for court time and balls in advance of major competitions to adequately prepare the players they care so much for. This victory is a huge step in the right direction for the team, which proved that with hard work, dedication, and true friendships, they have the ability to compete and win against the top varsity schools in the country, making this win an extremely sweet one.