The future is looking bright for AU men's tennis player Michael Wardell
The day after an Auburn campus visit, Mark Wardell looked at his son Michael and asked, "What do you think?"
Micheal responded, "I want to be here."
Ever since Michael Wardell could lift a racket, he's been playing tennis, and when deciding which college to attend, he knew he wanted a school with good academics and, of course, tennis.
"I think Auburn has an unbelievable program and, to be honest, one that I never imagined I would be able to play for," said Michael Wardell, junior in biomedical sciences.
He has been on the men's tennis team for two years. His freshman year record in singles competition was 5--11 and 4--5 in doubles, 3\0xAD--4 with partner Nick Maurillo, 1--0 with Davis Taylor, and 0--1 with Michael Monterio. This season he finished 10-6 in singles and 2-4 in doubles, 2-2 with partner Monterio and 0-1 with Taylor and Alex Stamchev.
"This season he was in a tough position," said Gabor Pelva, men's tennis assistant head coach. "He was our number seven guy. He played in the NCAA tournament. He lost both of the matches, but he performed well. He was very competitive in those two matches. He definitely improved from last year."
Wardell said he has no regrets about this season at all.
He said there were some weaknesses in his performance this year, such as his serve and his lack of physical readiness, but he said he worked hard and it is still a work in progress.
"It's really tough to play in the SEC, and I wasn't ready when I got here my freshman year, but I think we're making good steps towards that," Wardell said. "I need to keep getting stronger, getting faster, developing my serve and maybe some other weapon via the forehand or just being aggressive in getting to the net."
He said he loves tennis, being on the court and being part of the team.
"It's pretty cool to see a bunch of guys from different parts of the globe come together and be so close," Wardell said.
Pelva and Tim Puetz agree Wardell is also an important asset to the team.
"He's an extremely hard worker to begin with," said team captain Tim Puetz. "I admire that of him. He's probably the nicest guy we have on the team. He's incredible. He never gets mad at anyone. He always accepts everything. He's just a super nice kid overall, and I think we all appreciate it."
For next season, Wardell said he will continue working in hopes of playing on a consistent basis. Within the next two years, he wants to be on the starting line up.
"It's been an unbelievable experience," Wardell said. "I think we had a great year. We worked really hard and we came up a little short, and it wasn't because of things we did. It was just we got beat and that happens."