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Gophers’ Lipinski keeps it simple on the tennis court

Minnesota men’s tennis redshirt freshman Brian Lipinski describes himself as “pretty simple.” And his approach to his tennis career fits that description well.

“I just work hard,” Lipinski said. “I know people say it is good to have goals, but I just take every day and match as it comes.”

Lipinski won a Minnesota state singles championship while at Winona High School, but he is already the sixth member of the Gophers’ tennis team to own a state championship trophy.

Making the jump to a top-10 tennis team in the nation and playing with teammates who have played against the best national competition since age 12 is a big step.

But Lipinski doesn’t have a problem making the leap.

“You can only go up,” Lipinski said. “We’ve got guys from all over the world, and playing with them every day has been a great experience for me, and has made me improve.”

Gophers coach David Geatz praised Lipinski’s potential.

“I recruited Lipinski on what he could do for us in the future,” Geatz said. “He has all the potential in the world.”

An accomplished high school football player, Lipinski said the simple mental aspect of tennis makes his passion for it greater.

He likes the way one can take on a tennis opponent mentally as well as physically.

“In football, if you are stronger and bigger, you are probably going to win the match,” Lipinski said. “In tennis, it is so much more mental; you can really get in someone’s head and there are more mind games involved.”

Lipinski said the mind games are usually not dirty. Picking on someone’s weakness and taking some extra time between points can be more effective than talking trash.

Lipinski also likes the one-on-one aspect of tennis. He said it is simpler than football in the way he can focus on one opponent.

“(In other team sports) you can try and pick on one player’s weakness, but it is so much more effective in tennis,” he said.

But Lipinski’s approach is not only mental; it’s physical as well.

“I also try not to think too much,” Lipinski said. “I try to get you to make mistakes by using my speed to get to a lot of balls – because I’m pretty quick.”

“Pretty quick” might be modest. Geatz said Lipinski might be one of the best pure athletes his program has seen.

“He’s playing with the best of the best, and his athletic ability is second to none,” Geatz said.

Geatz knows Lipinski will contribute this year in the lower half of the lineup and hopes, by the time Lipinski is a junior and senior, he can be one of the best players in the country.

Lipinski is coming off the Wisconsin Fall Invitational, where he lost only once in eight matches at the No. 4 singles position.

With high expectations and surrounded by some of the best players in the nation, Lipinski’s vision of the future is again “pretty simple.”

“I just want to contribute positively to this team,” Lipinski said. “I want to work hard and concentrate on winning.”

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