Andrew Nakajima and Jaime Barajas had an impressive win in their doubles match in the NCAA tournament, but the other purple clad Wildcats of Northwestern ousted the Aggies 4 matches to 2 at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley, California.
Nakajima did his job by helping his doubles team win 6-2 over Chris Ephron and Michael Lorenzini.
“Although I won my match, I do not feel that nationals went well for me because we did not win as a team,” Nakajima said.
Nakajima didn’t get a chance to talk to the players at Northwestern, but he certainly let his racket do the talking.
“There is seldom talking between players on the court,” he said. “But fans love to heckle the opposing players.”
There was no traditional dog pile on the match winner since the Aggies came out on the losing end, but that didn’t detract from the historic experience the Aggies had in Berkeley as they have never qualified for the NCAA tournament as a team before. Nakajima thought the area was awesome because of its exceptional facilities and uplifting atmosphere.
Now it is time for the offseason, but that doesn’t mean the Aggie tennis guys will be taking it easy.
“The next step is to keep improving,” said Nakajima. “Just because the season is finished doesn’t mean I can’t improve.”
Some players take a while to decompress, but Nakajima loves the game so much he can’t be away from it for more than a few days.
Overall, Nakajima felt the NCAA tournament was different from the Mountain West Conference tournament or any other match the Aggies have ever played.
“It’s different because every team is playing for the same thing: a chance to go to Athens, Georgia and try to win a national title,” he said.
The Aggies didn’t get that trip to Athens, Georgia this year, but their performance this season rivals some of the ancient Olympic performances in Athens, Greece.
Nakajima and his fellow USU teammates will work hard this summer to frustrate Mountain West Conference opponents and other teams around the nation next year.