Stellar season sets stage for tennis Varsity

25 June 2012

Cameron Johnston and Emma Kudzin speak to TCS…

Tell us about the past season. What have the highlights been this year?

An influx of talented freshers allowed the men’s Blues to finish a close second in the Midlands 1a division and series of strong displays in Lent against the likes of Hertfordshire, Queens and the All England Club was only cut short by rain in Easter.

The women have had a tremendous year, finishing third in the Premier South division, only one point behind second place and reaching the quarter finals of the BUCS Knockout Competition. They followed this success with a series of great matches against county teams, the Queen’s Club, the Hurlingham Club, the All England Club and the IC of GB.

Has anyone been a stand out performer in the big moments?

We’re a team of fighters and Constantine Markides and Jamie Muirhead have best exemplified that fighting spirit. In Michaelmas Constantine came from a set and a break down to beat the Coventry number two and hand Cambridge the win, while Jamie recovered from a rolled ankle against Warwick to emerge victorious.

It’s impossible to single out one female player as they all show immense spirit. Laura Morrill can always be counted on to perform, and Kadi Saar never stops fighting. Sophie Walker has the inestimable ability to pull it out of the bag on the big occasions, and Marilena Papdopoulou and Amy Zhang, have both had incredible years.

When it comes to Varsity, is there more or less pressure on Cambridge given their records?

It doesn’t pay to live in the past or think too much of the future: we need to stay firmly in the present. It’s not us who have beaten Oxford for the last six years, any more than it is the current crop of girls who have won the last four. We have everything to prove and we’re hungry for victory.

Who do you think will go into the match as favourites?

On the men’s side, the teams are fairly evenly matched and we expect a hard tough-fought contest, though I hope our strength in depth and team spirit will see us through.

The women are going in as favourites, having won for the past four years. We have a very strong team and brilliant results so we are going in with confidence, but not complacence.

What do you think is the biggest threat from Oxford? Have they got a particularly impressive team this year?

The Oxford men are strong at the top of the order: Tim Matthewson, the current captain, and Greg Weir, last year’s captain, are the men to beat. But Oxford have also rung the changes this year such that many of their players are newcomers to Varsity. I’m sure that the fierce competition within our squad will stand us in very good stead.

The Oxford women this year have greater depth to their team than last year which makes them more dangerous. Their team has also changed but it’s nothing we won’t be able to handle.