Hamburg healthy, dominant for Minnesota

Minnesota's Jack Hamburg plays doubles against Drake at Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Lisa Persson

Minnesota’s Jack Hamburg plays doubles against Drake at Baseline Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Jace Frederick

Jack Hamburg has won six straight matches on the singles side and seven straight in doubles.

Still, when the junior from South Dakota hears those stats, he stands stoically — unmoved, uninspired, unimpressed.

To him, they’re just numbers.

His focus is on getting better — better than what he and head coach Geoff Young agree is already the best tennis he’s played in his college career.

“He’s playing really well,” Young said. “He’s really got it rolling.”

Hamburg said this season, he’s focused on the little things, like being aggressive and coming to the net — where he plays his best tennis.

“I’ve been volleying very well lately, so I’m just trying to focus on any opportunity or any short ball to come into the net,” he said. “I just try to move my way … and make my opponent feel pressure the whole match.”

It’s worked wonders early this season, as Hamburg consistently chalks up W’s from the No. 3 singles slot.

“We know that that’s a point, basically,” junior Mathieu Froment said. “We can count on him.”

That hasn’t always been the case, though. Hamburg’s 21-20 singles record over the past two years pales in comparison to the 6-2 mark he sports this season.

A big difference for Hamburg this time around is his health.

Injuries hampered him in the fall of each of his first two seasons on campus.

Hamburg has remained healthy this year besides a few “aches and pains here and there.”

And that’s made a difference on the court.

“It definitely has helped,” he said. “It’s just nice being able to have … matches under my belt going into the season.”

The fall matches also helped the Hamburg-Froment doubles duo.

The two, who have now played together for a year and a half, worked through a complete fall session of roughly 15 matches this year.

“We had a great fall season,” Froment said. “He has a good serve, [and] I have a good return. So we’re really complementary.”

Hamburg said the duo — currently ranked No. 22 in the nation — is to the point where each player knows where the other one is going to be on the court.

“We’re been really focusing on attacking returns and just being the aggressive team out there,” he said.

Hamburg has every reason to be aggressive after his recent victories.

While Hamburg’s boost in production may come as a surprise to some, it likely wasn’t a shock for his head coach.

“He’s a good player,” Young said last season, “but he’s going to be a great player for us.”

Young was right.

Whether Hamburg continues his hot stretch or stumbles as the season rolls on, his confidence won’t change.

“It’s just where it usually is,” Hamburg said. “I don’t try to base my confidence off of wins and losses. I try to make my confidence internal and just have confidence in whatever I do.”

These days, the Gophers can put their belief in him.