Saddleback College serves breadsticks to Mesa men’s tennis


Kole Lavoy, Photo Editor

Mesa College men’s tennis fought Saddleback College on March 22 with some close losses and intense rallies that weren’t enough to bring Mesa a win. After both teams defaulted a match, the final score came out to be 8-1 for Saddleback.

No. 1 singles, is always an intense match to watch and frequently lasts longer than other matches. This match kept the spectators on the edge of their seats, with Saddleback’s Shayan Haddad Kaveh edging Mesa’s Nicola Anderegg in the first set with a close 6-4. However, Saddleback was not going to give up so soon.

The intensity changed after a breather and Anderegg started dominating the second set starting with a break on Haddad Kaveh. Haddad Kaveh quickly came back during the second set and started to target Anderegg’s backhand, a traditionally weaker shot. This strategy caused Anderegg’s amount of unforced errors to increase.

Anderegg played with a continental grip, enforcing his use of a two-handed backhand, whereas his opponent played with the spin-intense western grip which is great for the strong, dominating one-handed backhand, a hard shot to defeat. After rallies lasting upwards of 10 shots for the entire set, both athletes held to 6-6.

The match went to a third set with a lengthy tie-breaker that went to Saddleback, 7-5. The final score for Anderegg’s match was a loss to Saddleback’s Haddad Kaveh, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5.)

Mesa head coach Marc Pinckney spoke about his top player’s game after an intense two-hour match.

“Nicola lost an incredibly close match,” Pinckney said. “He is an intense competitor and a truly gifted tennis player. His game is rounding into top form at exactly the right part of the season.”

Anderegg was smacking his racquet to the bottom of his shoes forcefully. Pinckney had a lengthy talk with him after the match to reset his mind and ready him for his doubles match that was next on the schedule. Anderegg ended up playing around three hours of strenuous, high quality tennis. His doubles match, where he was paired with No. 2 singles player Balraj Sangha, was a loss of 2-8.

Mesa No. 1 singles player Nicola Anderegg, with intense focus, prepares for the forehand shot that comes at him with immense speed. Photo Credit: Kole Lavoy/The Mesa Press

Pinckney added on Anderegg’s improvement: “I expect his to be a force at the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference in two weeks and at the California Community College Athletic Association Regionals at Ventura later this month. He is a great guy, an excellent teammate, and I have very much enjoyed coaching him.”

Though Anderegg kept most of the spectators captivated with his close match, he wasn’t the only notable player. Seeded at No. 2 singles, Sangha, and No. 4 singles, Alex Srioudom, are the two players the coach draws attention to. Even though they both were drastically defeated at 0-6, 1-6 and 2-6, 0-6 respectively, they have committed to most hours to the Mesa team compared to any of their teammates.

Pinckney said, “They are the absolute best kids I have coached at Mesa with the men’s side. They have done everything I asked them to do, including a rigorous summer running and practice program that they did on their own.” To continue to emphasize that a good athlete doesn’t solely physically equipped to play –that there is more to being good at hitting the ball — he added, “They are respectful, they want to be coached, they always give a great effort, they are wonderful teammates, they perform academically, they go to class, and they are absolute models of the student athlete.” 

Despite losses across the board, the team is still fighting to improve.

“This team is young and inexperienced, and the talent level does not match the non-conference schools or the top teams in our conference,” Sangha said. “But the team has consistently practiced hard and with focus, and with a couple of exceptions, we have fought hard in our matches.”

Pinckney finished: “Every player has gotten better as the season has gone on, this has been a very fun group to coach. The players like each other and care about one another and back their teammate’s. All any coach can ask for.”