UCI is home to a hot tennis duo taking the college sports world by storm. Third-year economics major Brian Morton and fourth-year criminology major Jonathan Endrikat comprise the doubles team that hopes to become one of the top-ranked doubles tandems this year.
Last season, this unstoppable doubles team finished with a record of 20-9 and were ranked as high as 11th in the nation. Not bad considering there are hundreds and hundreds of tennis doubles teams in the country.
Who knew, right?
Just this last weekend, the pair swept the ITA West Region Championship on Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The duo defeated San Francisco’s Arnesen and Pires de Almeida 8-6 in the final round.
And even before that, this doubles team caught the eye of critics everywhere with an incredible standing at the ITA/All-American Championships at Tennessee the weekend before that.
Going into the championships, these two were ranked 40th, but this did not stop them from defeating the ninth-ranked doubles team from Clemson and 13th-ranked Pepperdine.
Low and behold, Endrikat and Morton made it all the way to the semifinals where they were then defeated by the second-ranked Texas A&M doubles team.
At this point, the doubles tandem touted a remarkable 10-1 start.
Success didn’t stop Morton or Endrikat from a continuous fight for the top.
‘We’re fighting for a standing in the NCAA All-Americans top eight doubles teams in the country,’ Morton said.
Such a ranking would be the honor of all tennis accolades, marking them as one of the most competitive and talented doubles teams in the country. So what makes this duo so great? Morton and Endrikat have been playing together for three years and there is great communication. Both played a number of years in tennis, Endrikat for 11 and Morton a whopping 16.
Tennis is their lives. Combined with hours and hours of practice a day, these guys really take their sport seriously.
‘There is honestly no time for clubs or anything else,’ Endrikat said. ‘Tennis is hugely a mental sport. You must have both mental and physical quickness to play the game.’
Enrikat and Morton receive immense support from friends and family. Their head coach Steve Clark is both supportive and hopeful for these two players.
Clark said he does not expect a win, but does expect that his players give 100 percent.
‘If you practice hard, then who cares who you’re playing? At least you had given your best,’ Clark said.
The word intimidation is not in this team’s vocabulary.
These two have gone against the likes of Stanford and Illinois State