Harris Masterson, the number one man on the tennis team, takes a little jump into the air and crosses his ankles every time he hits a powerful return. You can measure his concentration by the number of jumps.
In an intrasquad match yesterday he was doing a lot of jumping on the way to a three-set victory over freshman Gary Reiner. With newcomer Reiner and a solid returning corps from last year's squad, which tied for first in the New England Championships, Harvard should again be a strong contender for the regional net title.
Masterson, who despite a generally disappointing season last year managed to beat Penn's John Adams, the best college player in the East, will again lead the team.
He will be followed by his doubles partner Ken Lindner who is regaining strength quickly after a bout of mononucleosis. Lindner, a big powerful player, uses a wristy forehand to devastate his opponents with an effective topspin.
In his follow through, Lindner seems to wrap the racket around his head in a manner reminiscent of Jim Bunning falling off the mound, but his feet remain in position, and his quickness and stamina are already getting steadier.
Sophomore John Ingard, who reached the semis of last year's New England Tourney and teamed with now-departed Chris Neilson to win a doubles crown, will play number three.
He is followed on the ladder by Reiner who might play higher on the team before the season is far underway. Reiner uses a big booming serve to attack net and control the game, but he will have to pull some twisting serves out of the bag if he is to be successful on clay.
Tom Loring plays an all-around consistent game with flat drives and will be the number five man. Captain Randy Barnett, a steady performer all last year, will play six and team with Loring for third doubles.
The Crimson ought to be playing equal to anyone in the Ivy League though there are four other teams with a shot at the title. Columbia, last year's dual-meet champion, returns with a strong squad, but rumor has it that three of their top players are on academic probation and are only probable for League competition. Penn, Princeton and Navy also are returning top teams, and Dartmouth and Brown are much improved.
The racquetmen start the season with a Southern swing over Spring vacation to Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.
Mad When We Lose
Coach Jack Barnaby is looking forward to the Southern trip to get ready for the early part of the season which will be the toughest this year. "We'll probably lose a lot of matches in the South because we'll just be starting while they have already played a dozen matches," Barnaby said, "but we like it because it's tough, and we get mad when they beat us."
The netmen start their League contests with back-to-back away matches at Penn and Navy on April 13 and 14. The switch from Penn's hard surface to Navy's soft clay should provide a real challenge for the Crimson and it is likely that the general tone of the season will be readily apparent. A couple of big early wins could put Harvard in control with only Columbia a real obstacle.
After the opening week of Ivy competition, the Crimson should have an easy middle season with home matches against Brown, Yale and Williams and an away match at Cornell before facing the Columbia Lions at Soldiers Field.