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September 18, 1980 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-18

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Amaya striving for top

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 18, 1980-Page 11


Victor Amaya will be on the road for
48 weeks in the next year on the
rofessional tennis circuit. The life of a
tenmis pro is not as glamorous as it is
sometimes portrayed. It usually means
time away from home, constant
traveling and hotel after seemingly en-
dless hotel. But the former Michigan
tennis star, now living in Goshen, Ken-
tucky, does not mind the life.
In fact, he plans on doing it for a long
time to come.
Currently ranked number 14 in the
orld, the 6-7 lefthander has made his
mark on the pro circuit, defeating such
name players as Guillermo Vilas,
Roscoe Tanner, Brian Gottfried,
Harold Solomon and Raul Ramirez.
Still, his major goal is to beat the likes
of Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy
Connors and Vitas Gerulaitus.
"The difference between being
ranked fourteenth and cracking the top
ten, is winning one more match a
Bi Ten
base ball.
re aligned
Big Ten baseball teams have divided
themselves into two divisions and will
play under such a format starting next
spring : to alleviate travel costs,
Michigan coach Bud Middaugh said
Michigan will play in one division
along with Michigan State, Ohio State,
Indiana, and Purdue, while Illinois,
Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, and
Wisconsin will compete in another
£ivision, Middaugh said. The
"Wolverines will play each team in their
own division four times, twice at home
and twice on the road.
At the end of the season, said the
second-year coach, the two top teams in
each division will join together in a
double-elimination tournament to
determine the conference's represen-
tative in the NCAA playoffs.
Middaugh explained that a key
*lement behind the change in format
was the rapidly increasing costs of
travel to such faraway schools as Iowa.
He added that "it makes a lot of sense
to have the schools that are closer
together playing each other."
The Wolverines traveled to Iowa City
in May to play the Haykeyes, but the
sc eduled doubleheader was cancelled
because of rain.
Middaugh said he understands the
ramifications of changing the system.
"It could happen where a team that
*inishes second in their division could
come back and win the tournament if
they're hot," he said. "That couldn't
happen in the past, when the team with
the best conference record was the con-
ference champ."
Despite the fact that the Wolverines
could have a tougher time holding onto
their title under the new system, Mid-
daugh said he favors it because, "as far
as, the fans, players, and justifying
ravel expenses are concerned, I think
here are more plusses than minuses
with this system," he said.

week," said Amaya. "I need to improve
my backhand and return of serve. And I
have to be more consistent day in and
day out."
But the key to Amaya's game is his
powerful serve.
"I would say that Victor's serve is
number one in the world, even better
than Roscoe Tanner's," noted Brian
Eisner, Michigan men's tennis coach.
"Amaya keeps his secofid serve very
deep, which is important in rating the
serve as a whole."
It was that awesome serve that led

this year's Wimbledon champion on all
but one occasion.
At the Seiko World Tennis Champion-
ships in Tokyo last year, Amaya exten-
ded Borg to five sets and had four mat-
ch points before the undaunted Swede
eked out the victory.
Amaya has set out to improve his
backhand, the glaring weakness that
plagued him in college, and to a lesser
extent, in his current game.
"I use to have a heart attack if I had
to make a passing shot off the backhand
side," Amaya recalled. "It's not quite
that bad today, but could stand some
Amaya will take that hopefully im-
proved backhand with him to 22 tour-
naments and 15 exhibitions during the
next year. The grind of packing and un-
packing is eased by the fact that he
travels with his wife to almost all of the
sites. The Amayas have been married
18 months.
Those who know Amaya feel he will
do very will in the upcoming year.
Eisner is one of many observers who
predict success for his former pupil.
"Victor has done very well in a sport
where the quality of play gets more dif-
ficult year after year. He's an in-
telligent person and is very com-
petitive," said Eisner.

Victor Amaya .
Amaya to two consecutive Big 10
single's titles in 1973 and 1974 at
Michigan. He narrowly missed a third
consecutive title which would have tied
him with Marty Riessen (North-
western) for most consecutive Big 10
conference championships. He was
defeated by Francisco Gonzales of Ohio
State in the finals and describes that
match as the most important in his
collegiate career.
"That was my biggest and last match
for Michigan. I really wanted to tie
Riessen's record," he said.
And he probably would have tied the
record if it were not for the heat
prostration he suffered the day of the
match. There was no air conditioning at
Wisconsin's new tennis facility, site of

See more sports, page 12

"And he has the perfect personality
for the game. You have to put up with
the constant traveling, the packing and
the unpacking. Many tennis players
have the physical skills but cannot han-
dle these side events."
Amaya can indeed handle the life.
Right now, however, he's getting ready
for the next tournament and it's back on
the road.. .again.
Next Week: Doug Marsh
(OU 1
1 140 South University

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the Big 10 championshiips, and the
finals were played on a very hot after-
noon. The match lasted three sets.
"Victor got dizzy halfway through
that match, but he finished anyway,"
recalled Eisner. "He did not know
where he was, though, after the match.
We had to take him out of the doubles
Amaya has since avenged the loss to
Gonzales, beating the former Buckeye
standout each time they've played on
the pro circuit.
Perhaps Amaya's finest performan-
ces have taken place while the former
Holland, Michigan native stood op-
posite Bjorn Borg on the tennis court.
The two have played four times, and
Amaya has had a great chance to beat

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