Citizen Staff Writer
Staring across the nets at the Stanford men’s tennis players Friday might cause the Arizona Wildcats some nervous commotion.
But then, this is Arizona and this is 2009, and according to UA’s top singles player, that makes a difference.
“We’re ready,” said Jay Goldman, despite the No. 8-ranked Cardinal’s incredible past dominance of UA, a 60-2 record. “We’re looking forward to going after these people.”
That also includes California, which will complete the biggest home weekend for Arizona this year.
Stanford will be engaged at 1:30 p.m. Friday and Cal will visit at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Arizona at least can show up with no lack of boldness. The Cats are 16-2 this year and 1-1 in the Pac-10 with a road loss last week at Oregon.
The Bears are 42-13 versus UA all time.
Left-handed Goldman, No. 68 in the nation in singles, is the guy to lead. As the No. 1 singles player, he is 9-4 this year.
He has sharpened his racquet against tested pros since age 16 at Florida’s Nick Bolletierri Tennis Academy.
He traveled last summer to Australia, in part to knock the ball around with pro Lleyton Hewitt.
And players on the UA team from Ecuador, Spain, Israel, Norway and South Africa give the Wildcats a world flavor.
“I have never been in awe of anybody I’ve played,” said Goldman, who gave up downhill skiing as a youth to devote his life to tennis. “I look at it as a chance to see where I’m at. I never play against anybody I feel I can’t beat.”
From Worchester, Mass., he was Arizona’s prize recruit for 2007. He was 27-0 in high school and ranked No. 19 on the national recruiting list.
Goldman’s laid-back attitude, he believes, keeps him on an even keel. Losing a tough, three-set tie-breaker or getting beaten badly doesn’t affect him.
His bane is the type who wants to stay on the court until suppertime.
“I like guys who crack the ball, hit winners ever shot,” he said. “And if he’s doing it, he’s going to slow down. A match can shift anytime. You lose a set, forget it, it’s a new set.
“Win some, lose some,” he said, “and I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.”
• Season records, 7C