Toledo heads to indoor nationals

Senior Leandro Toledo is the No. 22 singles player in the nation.

Minnesota's Leandro Toledo plays against Drake at the ITA Central Regional Championships on Oct. 21, 2012.

Daily File Photo, Ichigo Takikawa

Minnesota’s Leandro Toledo plays against Drake at the ITA Central Regional Championships on Oct. 21, 2012.

Leandro Toledo watched as his teammates participated in the Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend.

But this weekend, the Gophers’ top singles player will be back on the court to compete in the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

Two years ago, the Hamburg, Germany, native competed in the tournament as a sophomore, winning his first-round match before falling in the next
round.

“I remember two years ago I was pretty nervous and everyone told me to calm down [because] I was so nervous. People could see it. Hopefully I can take my experience and use it as an advantage,” Toledo said.

This time, he’ll enter the tournament as the No. 22 singles player in the country.

He is part of a 32-player field after earning an ITA wild card bid.

Head coach Geoff Young said he’s looking forward to seeing Toledo battle against good competition.

“I always just love watching him play against other high-level players. It’s just a high level of tennis, and it’s fun to watch,” Young said.

Toledo has competed in the ITA All-American Championships and the ITA Central Regional Championships this fall, accumulating a 7-2 record so far and beating ranked opponents in the process.

“All the guys are in the top 30 at least — if not better. The experience playing against those good guys [this fall] definitely helped,” Toledo said.

Though he’ll face stiff competition, Toledo has proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with.

“I just really think the key is him maintaining the belief in himself that he belongs there and to trust his shots,” Young said. “Maybe in his earlier years he thought he belonged there but wasn’t certain. And now, with the amount of results, I really think he believes that he’s ready to make a big run.”

Though Toledo’s goal is to win the tournament, his coach said with such a talented field, it’s really open to anyone.

“There [are] a lot of good players. He could do everything right and lose,” Young said. “That’s the nature of this sport and the nature of this
tournament.”