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February 09, 2005 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-09

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Injury couldn't ace Blue's Rubin

By Jami Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
In his last year playing for the Michigan
men's tennis team before trying to turn pro,
senior Michael Rubin is not about to let any-
thing get in his way - not even an injury.
In last Saturday's win over Ball State, the
veteran proved he's not so quick to retire,
earning his 60th collegiate singles victory.
"I didn't even know about it until someone
told me," Rubin said modestly. "I've been try-
ing to just focus on playing each match more
than worrying about other things that might
go along with it."
Last fall, this milestone was the last thing
on Rubin's mind. The senior suffered a stress
fracture in his rib, causing him to miss the
end of the 2003-04 season. The injury also
kept Rubin out most of the summer and fall
as well.
During this frustrating time, Rubin tried to
remain optimistic.
"It was definitely real tough," Rubin
said. "There were a lot of times that I had
some doubts about whether or not I could
come back. But all along, I believed that
things have a way of working out. (When I
came back), I just wanted to be very effec-
tive and contribute to this team like I have
in the past."
Rubin spent the majority of his winter break
playing in tournaments on his own in order

to prepare for his comeback. He said that he
played about 18 matches in three weeks. First-
year coach Bruce Berque recognized Rubin's
dedication.
"Michael really sets the tone for the
amount of responsibility he takes so that
he's always prepared to play his best ten-
nis," Berque said. "He's very profession-
al in taking care of all the little details
to perform at his best. So he's a great
example in terms of work ethic."
Boasting an individual record of 3-1 at the
No. 1 singles position this season, Rubin has
now extended his career singles record to 60-
33.
"In our opinion, Michael is playing the best
tennis of anyone on the team," Berque said.
Though Rubin has been a constant go-
to man for Michigan, he did not begin
his collegiate career as a Wolverine. He
began at the University of Washington,
where he posted an 11-5 record in the
2000-01 season. The Ohio native trans-
ferred to Michigan his sophomore year
to be closer to home. He also wanted to
reunite with the Wolverines' coach Mark
Mees, who had privately coached Rubin
in high school and coached at Michigan
from 1999 to 2004.
Now playing under Berque, Rubin has
developed another important player/coach
relationship.
"(Berque) has been great with me," Rubin

said. "It was a tough spot for him to fill
because I had great relationships with our pre-
vious coaches. But he's really helped my game
and helped me grow as a person."
Berque has high hopes for Rubin's final sea-
son as a Wolverine.
"The most important thing is that he enjoys
(what is most likely) his last chance at playing
team tennis," Berque said. "If he really enjoys
himself, he'll play his best. Sometimes he puts
a little too much pressure on himself and gets
in his own way. I would like him to have a sig-
nificant impact in being part of the first group
of getting Michigan tennis back to where it
has been in the past."
Rubin said he is definitely planning on
turning pro after this season and is looking
forward to traveling professionally.
Even with these future plans in mind, Rubin
has not lost sight of the valuable experiences
he gained in his three years at Michigan.
"College has been a great arena for me to
not only develop my tennis skills and get a
great education, but it's also been a great place
for me to grow as a person," Rubin said. "A lot
of the lessons I've learned over the past three
years will definitely help me in my career. I
think that will stay with me more than any-
thing else."
Rubin will look to lead Michigan (3-1 over-
all) to its fourth victory of the season Sunday
at noon, when the Wolverines will face Van-
derbilt in Nashville.

KOJLODGY
Continued from page 10
It could have been the despera-
tion that inevitably accompanies
a stretch like the Wolverines have
had finally sunk in, or that Amaker
simply said something to them that
lifted the clouds and allowed his
players to see the light as far as his
game plan was concerned. Perhaps
the confidence that, according to
Sims, helps them perform in prac-
tice finally just found its way to
the floor when game time rolled
around.
But if there was any such epipha-
ny for the Wolverines, they weren't
telling anyone what it was. It could
potentially be problematic that
Michigan seems to have no concrete
idea of what, exactly, helped them
to success last night. Then again, it
might not matter. The Wolverines
could find that the newfound confi-
dence is invaluable in and of itself.
Whatever the reason for yester-
day's emotional turnaround, Michi-
gan hopes that the close loss to a
great team will give it the momen-
tum that it needs this Saturday,
when it takes on Michigan State at
home.
Momentum from a loss?
It's a start.
Megan Kolodgy can be reached at
megkolo@umich.edu.

ALEXANDER DZIADOSZ/Daily
Senior Michael Rubin is 3-1 at No. 1singles this year.

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