Golden Goolagong 2018 Winners
The Golden Goolagong goes to the Player of the Week. It rewards players who show up to practice and matches with intensity, positivity, and sportsmanship.
Week 1 Patrick Dempsey
Week 2 Sam Routzahn
Week 3 Alex Konstan
Olentangy Roundup: Brdicka primed for state tourney
By DAVE PURPURA
Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:05 PM
For Stu Brdicka, tennis is more about what’s between his ears than what’s between the lines.
The Olentangy High School boys team’s junior standout enters the Division I state tournament Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason with a 25-1 record and coming off a third-place finish at district.
Brdicka thinks that without an improved mental approach, he wouldn’t be competing this weekend.
“I love how things have gone,” he said. “My coach (Rick Naumoff, at Olympic Indoor Tennis Club) has been a big factor. I switched to him maybe about two years ago, but I have been taking more consistent lessons through the past year. I think that’s what’s been the key factor.
“I’ve just staying in the point longer. I used to get down on myself when I lost, and that was not where I wanted to be. Rick has helped me that way. Probably, my speed and chasing balls down (are my strengths). Consistency is big. My backhand has improved somewhat with my depth and consistency.”
Brdicka qualified for state with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Thomas Worthington’s Kai Britz on May 18 at Hilliard Davidson, and after suffering his first loss of the season in a district semifinal May 20 at Upper Arlington, 7-5, 6-2 to Hilliard Bradley’s Mitchell Thai, Brdicka rebounded to sweep Dublin Coffman’s Bryan Yoshino 6-2, 6-2 in the third-place match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state.
Brdicka was 0-1 in doubles at state as a freshman. He fell short of a return last year by going 1-1 at district.
“I definitely wanted to and expected myself to contend for state,” he said. “State was my goal, but going undefeated (into district) was unexpected.”
Braves coach Jeff Luxenburger said Brdicka’s cerebral approach always has been his biggest strength.
“His physical game has caught up to his mental game,” Luxenburger said. “Stu has always had one of the best temperaments that I’ve ever seen. That can be what lifts him on a particular day. Some of the decisions he makes are what keeps him in matches, even on days when he is outpowered by a player. He will never be outmatched mentally. He knows how to think his way around a tennis match.”
Also competing at district but failing to advance were the doubles team of Pradhit Gosula and Alex Ulry and singles player Alex Konstan, each of whom went 0-1.
“I am so proud of them for making it. This was the goal all along for some of our guys,” Luxenburger said. “This district is very talented, and we knew we’d have an uphill climb. We wanted to compete a little more and have some better first-round matches, but we’re just proud of them for getting this far.”