By Mark Jezek
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
As the Baylor men’s tennis team started the 2013 dual match season, they were rejoined by senior teammate Roberto Maytin of Valencia, Venezuela. The senior took the fall semester off to return home to Venezuela, and is working his way back into the highly talented Baylor line up.
“It was really hard in the beginning,” Maytin said. “I had six months off without any matches. I just focused on getting in shape. I am trying to get healthy and stay focused on the court and play more matches. That is what I need right now.”
Maytin was a dominant presence in previous seasons. Last year he and doubles partner Kike Grangeiro finished the year ranked No. 41 in the ITA rankings. The duo was 25-15 and defeated seven ranked opponents.
Maytin was also a standout in singles competition. He spent most of the season competing in the No. 2 spot where he was able to post a 24-16 overall record, and finished the season ranked No. 90.
This year, Maytin is 4-5 in dual-match play.
“I am not playing my best tennis right now,” added Maytin. “I have to keep going, keep practicing hard and I will be back soon.”
Having Maytin return to his previous level of play would do that much more to strengthen an already incredibly young and talented lineup for the Bears, who have already faced seven top 20 opponents this season.
Maytin is the lone senior in a lineup composed primarily of transfers, sophomores and freshmen. Because of the new faces on the team, Maytin is filling a different roll and has seemed to be unshaken by the changes.
“He has a more pragmatic approach to the game,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “He understands that the season is more of a journey, and does not worry too much about a single result. He has focused on getting better and not getting up tight about where we are at.. He is more focused on today and letting tomorrow take care of itself and I think he does a great job of that.”
“We have a really young team, but they don’t need that much help,” Maytin said. “They know what to do and they are all really smart. They look up to me because I am the only senior on this team and so I am the one they can all come to. They listen to me sometimes and I think that is a good thing for them and for me. They really practice hard and we all like to compete.”
Knoll admits it is nice having a veteran back in the locker room, “He has done a great job of energizing the team and has been really tough in practice,” Knoll said. “He has done a really good job of getting himself back in shape and he has been a strong voice in the locker room for sure.”
With conference play approaching, the Bears are hungry to go in search of the program’s 11th conference title. Coming off a third place finish last year, Maytin is looking to bring a Big 12 Championship back to Waco.
“Last year we had a chance to win the tournament, but we didn’t,” Maytin said. “I think this year is different. We know how to better handle the pressure of the Big 12. We have one year as a team together and some of the new guys are playing really well. We want to just stay together and go out and win. If we can stay together and focused, we can win everything.”