Sprinkel goes from watching to playing

The freshman said he watched most of the team’s home meets last season.

Jack White

Freshman Jesse Sprinkel was on campus to watch last spring when the Gophers earned their first Big Ten title since 1995.
 
Now he hopes to repeat the experience, only as a part of the team.
 
“That was a really fun moment,” Sprinkel said. “Seeing that, it really makes you want to be a part of it.”
 
Sprinkel joined the Gophers after going undefeated his final two seasons at Minneapolis South high school. He earned all-conference and all-city honors six straight seasons.
 
The Minneapolis native also came from a tennis family. His brother played at Coe College, and his sister currently plays for the University of South Dakota. 
 
Sprinkel said he was looking to attend the University of Minnesota, though, and kept in contact in high school with head coach Geoff Young and associate head coach Urban Ljubic.
 
“I watched almost all the home matches,” Sprinkel said. 
 
Sprinkel got off to a good start in doubles during his first collegiate tournament. The freshman duo of Sprinkel and Justyn Levin won its first three matches to make it to the doubles final at the Wildcat Invitational. The University of Arizona’s Shoki Kasahara and Jason Jaruvang defeated the pair in the final round 8-5.
 
“We obviously need to work on a few things,” Levin said. “Probably being more aggressive in our service games, but in terms of our returning, we are returning very well.”
 
Sprinkel’s winning record in doubles, 3-2, has not translated over well to his singles game so far. The freshman has lost his first four matches of the season in singles. 
 
Young said Sprinkel needs to work on being more relaxed in order to improve his results.
 
“So far in the matches this fall, he hasn’t been able to be as steady from the baseline,” Young said. “Sometimes under pressure his strokes let him down a little bit from the baseline.”
 
The freshman is coming off a rough outing last tournament at the International Tennis Association Championships. He was paired up with Levin again in doubles and the pair lost in the first round. Sprinkel also lost his two matches in singles.
 
Sprinkel will look to rebound for the Big Ten Indoor Championships starting Nov. 6. Sprinkel is one of three members traveling for the team along with freshman Marino Alpeza and junior Jeremy Lynn.
 
“We’ve been working on movement a lot in practice,” Sprinkel said. “Trying to be lighter on your feet and be a little more explosive out there on the court, and we’ve been working on our doubles skills a lot.”