Yurconic ascends to top singles position
For much of his high school career, John Yurconic spent his time on the tennis court at No. 1 singles. He was routinely matched up against opposing teams’ best players.
Yurconic, now a freshman at Lafayette, has found his way back to that No. 1 singles position. But he’s also been occupying consistent court time at No. 2 doubles this spring, a change that he’s still getting accustomed to.
“Playing doubles every match has taught me something very important: I have a lot to learn,” said Yurconic. “Mason [Groff] and I played a lot of two-back doubles, where neither of us would really attack the net. But now with how good some of these teams are, claiming the net and being effective with your volleys is essential. Even just having one guy up to be aggressive makes a huge difference.”
The approach Yurconic has playing doubles is a bit different than the one he and Groff, his cousin, used when capturing state gold a couple of years ago. Still, he’s gaining valuable experience on the court.
On the doubles circuit, where he’s played at all three positions, Yurconic has wins against Holy Cross, Coppin State and Sacred Heart.
“The hardest challenge to adapt to is the heightened competition week in and week out, especially at the first singles spot,” Yurconic said. “For me, I always have a tough match and have to bring my A-game every time and not get in my own head. The players I’m playing rarely give free-bees, so every point is crucial.”
A couple of weeks ago he got his chance to return to that familiar position of No. 1 singles. It’s been a spot he’s still working his way into against college-level competition, but the Leopard freshman is holding his own thus far in 2018.
Yurconic boasts a 3-9 record at singles this season. All three of his wins came at No. 2 singles—against Sienna, Saint Francis Brooklyn and Holy Cross. He came up just short in a recent match against Lehigh at No. 1 singles, a 5-7, 6-7 (1-7) shortcoming.
“It’s definitely been a roller coaster ride the last three months,” Yurconic said. “It’s definitely tough playing against great competition week-in and week-out. Sometimes we’ve had three matches a weekend and by Sunday you just feel drained both mentally and physically, but it’s so much fun playing in the team atmosphere and having your teammates cheer you on through the toughest of matches.”
Yurconic is still only months into his college tennis career. He’s been at No. 1 singles in an even shorter amount of time. So, while the record may not be similar to his time at Salisbury when he was nearly unbeatable, he realizes the transition into college tennis is a difficult one. And that the results he’s hoping for are right around the corner.
“For a large part of the season, I was lined up at second singles and second doubles with another freshman,” Yurconic said. “However, a few weeks ago our No. 1 went down with an elbow injury, so I was moved up to first singles and first doubles, and I’ve loved it. At the top positions I always have tough opponents that may be two or three older than me, so I’ve definitely gained a lot of experience in the new role, experience I know will help me down the road in the years to come.”