European doubles team shines for Lewis
Calling a semifinals berth disappointing may seem like a strange statement for some, but it's how Mate Srdanovic and Alan Braschinsky feel.
Srdanovic and Braschinsky, natives of Europe who form the top men's doubles team at Lewis University, recently won their way to the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Regional in Indianapolis, where they fell 8-3 to the Drury University team of Maxi Hepp and Sebastien Amato, LewisFlyers.com reports. It denied Srdanovic and Braschinsky a chance to repeat as regional champions.
This was the first tournament of the season for the Lewis duo, whereas last year they had some matches ahead of the regional, Srdanovic told the Will County Gazette.
“That's not a bad thing (reaching the semis), but compared to last year, it's a fail for us,” he said.
Failure isn't something they are used to. LewisFlyers.com notes that Srdanovic, a native of Croatia, has twice earned All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors, has a doubles record of 58-31 and a singles record of 67-19. Braschinsky, a sophomore who hails from Estonia, also was an All-GLVC pick and has a doubles record of 28-8 and a singles record of 16-9.
Last year, in their first season as a team, they claimed seventh place at the USTA/ITA National Small College Doubles Championship.
Srdanovic came to Lewis via a friend who played at Louisville and was working as a graduate assistant at Lewis. The friend got Srdanovic hooked up with Flyers head coach Brett Briedel. Since Srdanovic wanted to also study aviation, which Lewis is strong in, he decided to become a Flyer. Likewise, Braschinsky said he also was contacted by a graduate assistant who is a fellow Estonian.
Srdanovic said there are a lot of talented tennis players and good tournaments in Europe, but it was the work ethic he learned in the United States that took his game higher.
“When you connect those tennis skills to the good work ethic and the hard work here at Lewis,
I think that's a success,” he said.
Srdanovic said he's also matured as a person and a player with the experience he's amassed in the United States.
Braschinsky got into tennis at about the age of 6, he said in an interview with the Will County Gazette. He had a vision problem as a child and took up tennis to help with that. Following the ball's movement helped, with his vision fine now.
Like Srdanovic, Braschinsky said he's also matured in his playing, leaving behind the rash decisions he used to make on the court and thinking more logically in a match.
Braschinsky, who is studying biochemistry at Lewis, said he'd like to improve in the small things of the sport.
“I've gotten mentally tougher," he said. "I'd say my weaknesses have always been backhand. I improved it over the summer, but it needs some more improvement."
Braschinsky said he enjoys the chemistry he and Srdanovic have as a team.
“Every time we're on the court together, I enjoy it,” Braschinsky said.