It didn’t take long for a partnership to form between Gophers tennis players senior Leandro Toledo and freshman Felix Corwin.
The two have been playing No. 2 doubles together this spring season, generating a chemistry that has resulted in a 7-0 record and three unfinished matches.
Head coach Geoff Young had the duo first playing together in the fall season, but it took until the third match of spring to solidify Toledo and Corwin’s bond.
“I thought that Leandro, being a senior, it would be nice to put him with Felix, a freshman, in doubles,” Young said. “[The seniors] can show the freshmen the ropes, and help teach them how to play doubles. Most freshmen don’t really know the intricacy of playing doubles.”
Another reason Young put Toledo and Corwin together was the comfort level that the two showed while playing different sides of the court.
“They both like the side that they return from,” Young said. “Felix is comfortable at deuce, and Leandro likes the ad-[side] when they return serves.”
Corwin said the similarities in their playing style have contributed to their success.
“We both play pretty aggressive, and we have big serves,” Corwin said. “We are just always trying to attack the net and be more aggressive than the other team. We don’t hit many ground strokes because we want to close the net hard and put pressure on the other team.”
In the seven matches the pair have won, four teams were ranked in the top 50, while one was ranked 51st.
Despite the perfect record, Corwin said there was a match where they barely took the victory.
“We had a couple close calls,” Corwin said. “We barely got a win against [No. 25] Harvard. Leandro had a couple big shots that kept our streak alive.”
Against Harvard, the duo went into a tiebreaker, where they narrowly won with a score of 9-7.
Considering the close victories, Toledo said his freshman counterpart has made improvements.
“He’s trying to be more aggressive now,” Toledo said. “He goes more after his returns now, and he serves a little faster, too. Those are really big for our doubles [play].”
As a senior, Toledo said he has tried to mentor Corwin in many ways.
“Every time we play, I try to remind him about the basics,” Toledo said, adding that Young taught them to position themselves well.
But Corwin said Toledo has helped him with more than just the basics.
“He always helps me think of different strategies and just ways … to be a better team,” Corwin said.
Moving forward, Corwin said he doesn’t really have any expectations for the remainder of the season.
“If we play the way that we have been so far this season, we are most likely going to win more matches,” Corwin said. “We’re not really thinking about results — we’re just thinking more about how we play as a team.”