One victory will give the senior UO's win record
(The Register-Guard) Motivation will come in many forms this week for Robin Cambier.
There's a record to be set, a losing streak to end and a fallen teammate to honor come Friday for the Oregon tennis player when the No. 43 Ducks host Washington at 5 p.m. in the Student Tennis Center.
An individual victory against the Huskies will give Cambier the Oregon career record for singles wins and cement his legacy as the most successful player in school history.
A team win would be Oregon's first against Washington in 10 years and 18 matches.
And accomplishing both would be a sweet and fitting tribute to former Duck Alex Rovello, who drowned in a diving accident at Tamolitch Falls on the McKenzie River last May.
Cambier and Rovello were roommates, classmates and close friends who both came to Oregon in 2010 -- Cambier from Brussels, Belgium, and Rovello from Portland. If Cambier knew nothing of the Ducks' longstanding rivalry with the Huskies when he arrived in Eugene, Rovello quickly filled him in.
"When Alex was here, being from Portland, he knew that rivalry since he was young," Cambier said. "He talked to me a lot about this rivalry, so it means a lot personally to me, just to get that win for him."
To add to the moment, Cambier could possibly play for career-win No. 85 against Washington's Max Manthou, who also was a close friend of Rovello's and who spoke at his memorial service in Portland.
"It couldn't have been scripted any better," Cambier said. "To play Washington, possibly get that record, get that team win, and play against a guy that grew up with Alex, it's like in a movie. It's just my turn to make it happen on Friday."
Cambier (17-2) is 4-0 this winter playing at No. 1 singles, and 4-0 when playing at No. 2 singles.
Manthou (14-5) also plays primarily No. 1 singles for Washington.
Both are eligible to play at either spot on Friday but Oregon coach Nils Schyllander wouldn't tip his hand earlier this week, saying he'll wait to announce his lineup until the morning of the match.
Belgian sophomore Kevin Farin, a first-year transfer from the University of Brussels, is also 3-0 this season in No. 1 singles matches for the 9-1 Ducks, though it's been Cambier in that spot for the past five matches.
"I just want to feel good and confident about my game heading into Friday," Cambier said. "I feel really confident about our team, so I don't want any of the focus to drift away by performances or possible records that I can beat. I just want to be focused on the team."
Focus has rarely been an issue for Cambier, who has won at least 21 matches in his first three years at Oregon. He already holds seven school records, including career doubles wins (78), career singles and doubles wins combined (157) and doubles wins in a season (29), set with Jeff Mullen in 2012.
Cambier went 21-13 as a freshman, 24-9 as a sophomore and then 22-11 last year. He and Farin are also 6-1 playing No. 1 doubles this season.
"I was recruited to be No. 5 in the lineup, and then freshman year I was playing No. 2," Cambier said. "I just worked my way up from freshman year to now. I just try to go out there every match and do the best that I can and get the win for the team and what comes with it, comes with it."
Last Sunday in the Ducks' 7-0 victory over UNLV, Cambier defeated Ace Matias 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6) to tie Sven Swinnen (2001-05) for the most career singles victories.
"Obviously it's an accomplishment anyone should be proud of," Schyllander said. "And it's shown how consistent he's been in his 3â€šÃ„Ã¢âˆšÃ‡ 1/2 years here. He's never had a bad season. He's just very, very gifted physically. Now, I think, the more he's grown up and matured mentally, it's all kind of come together for him."
Swinnen was center stage in Oregon's last victory over the Huskies, winning both a singles and doubles match on Feb. 29, 2004, in the Ducks' 4-3 victory.
Oregon's come close to beating Washington in recent years, losing two of the past three matches 4-3, but it's been a one-sided rivalry this past decade.
The Ducks' last victory over the Huskies feels like "a long, long way ago," Cambier said. "I remember my freshman year telling my coaches that we would beat Washington by the time I was done here. So it has to happen now, at home."
And if he can set a record in the process, well, the timing couldn't be better.
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