Junior Marc Spicijaric
March 13, 2008
In the fourth edition of "On the Marc", junior Marc Spicijaric returns to the blog scene after a long break. Over the course of the past month, Spicijaric and the Illini have competed at ITA Indoors, started a new home win streak and taken down five ranked opponents as well. Fightingillini.com has now finally caught up with the busy junior as he catches fans up on the goings on for Illinois men's tennis.
What have you and the team been working on lately in practice?
"We've been working pretty hard, on-and-off the court on just improving at every facet of the game. On the court, we've been working on building momentum. We haven't really done anything out of the ordinary I wouldn't say. Just as a team, we've just been working really hard on fitness and conditioning. I think that this is the most focused we've been all year though. We're just building some confidence with each week and match."
In some of your conditioning workouts, I hear that the men's team played mixed doubles and tag with the women's tennis team, Talk about that.
"Everyday after practice, we try to have some form of conditioning and that was our agility workout for one of our practices. That day, we played tag with the women's team, with each person getting 15 seconds to try and tag a member of the opposite team. So some of us were playing that game with the women's tennis team. The other group of us were doing that with an after school program of little kids, where three of them chase after one of us. It was great to have a chance to not only focus and work on agility, but do it when we had a chance to spend some time with kids from the community."
You have been injured for most of the fall season and have been working your way back into the lineup. Talk about that process.
"It's been a slow process that just gets better with time, but I have been working through that. Other than that, I guess I've just been putting in the extra time on the court and trying to gain confidence back, the hardest thing after an injury. Then from there, I take the things I need to work on and I focus on that and just try to get better."
So you have a lot of hard work and time going into on the court preparation. Anything as a team that you guys do to bond off the court.
"Well, the last couple of years we as a team have decided to all shave our heads. I recently shaved Abe's head, which turned out to be quite a night. He thought I was going to use a No. 2 guard, but I went with no guard. I just went in there and shaved it all off. He didn't get any lines (shaved into his head), that's more just Ruben and me. I tried to be a little sneaky though and I left a patch of hair behind his ear, in a really good spot, but he found that. However, I also left a pretty big patch on his cowlick that he found out after he left. He called me when he found out and was freaking out."
You guys have taken a serious approach to this season in practice and matches, talk about how that is coming along as a team motto.
"I think that this is the most focused that we've been in the past two weeks, especially after our matches against Michigan State, Notre Dame and most recently Purdue. I think that we've really focused on some momentum and confidence. We really didn't play well against Michigan State, but Notre Dame and Purdue, we handed it to them. We're starting to buy in as a whole team that the harder that we work, the more we'll bring it home."
Can you talk about TCU and your upcoming match against Pepperdine during Spring Break?
"TCU's was a bit tricky because we played so recently, but we took care of business. It was a middle of the week match, which kinda threw us off. We're used to having more than four days to prepare for a match. Having a match on Wednesday and having to focus on top of having school is always a challenge. As for Pepperdine, the coaches have done a good job making sure we're staying focused. We're excited for Pepperdine. Getting some sun during Spring Break will be great. Hopefully, we'll stay focused in time for the match and then be able to relax after it."
So, we have noticed that the team has started to wear bandannas during matches, is that something that will become a fixture for this team?
"I can't do the bandana because it will cover the lines that I have shaved into the side of my head. I really just think that Ruben and Waylon are the only ones that wear them. I know Abe wore it for one of our matches, but overall, it's not a whole team thing. It has always been Ruby's (Ruben) style for wearing the bandana, and it has just caught on with some of the rest of the team this year."
Well Illini fans that is it for now. Check back later for another edition of "On the Marc".
Marc "Mr. Clutch" Spicijaric, GO ILLINI!