It’s a rare occasion when a team or an individual can remain undefeated for an entire season.
So far, UW has four teams and one individual who have unbeaten records: the football team remains undefeated with an 8-0 record; the men’s and women’s swim teams both remain undefeated with 3-0 records; the men’s hockey team remains undefeated with a 4-0 record.
And a young freshman tennis player from Teaneck, N.J., remains undefeated with a 3-0 record.
Brian Ko, a walk-on, made his Badger debut in style last weekend at the Michigan Invitational by demolishing his competition. He was the only Badger to go undefeated through the tournament.
“It was my first tournament as a freshman,” Ko said. “I just went out and played hard. It felt great to win. I definitely did not think I was going to win all my matches. I did not know what to expect. I really had nothing to lose.”
In his first match, Ko defeated Yuichi Uda of Notre Dame in sets 7-5, 0-6, 6-4.
The next day, Ko kept his momentum rolling by winning his second straight match, defeating Michigan State’s Mike Brown 6-1, 6-0.
In the final day of the invitational, Ko topped off a perfect weekend by beating Western Michigan’s Bryan Norville 6-4, 6-4.
“It was great to see him win all his matches,” assistant coach Danny Westermen said. “He had never competed at the college level before. We were not surprised that he won, but we had never seen him compete. I guess we have another weapon on this team. We are excited about that.”
Winning and playing undefeated is not rare for Ko.
“In high school, I only lost one match each year in the state tournament,” Ko said. “I went undefeated every year in our league.”
Ko hopes to continue his unbeaten streak in his final two tournaments of the fall. He will compete in the Milwaukee Classic Nov. 3-4 in Milwaukee and the Big Ten Singles Championship Nov. 13-14 at the Nielson Tennis Stadium.
“I just hope to win,” Ko said. “I have not lost yet.”
Westermen, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if Ko’s hopes continued to translate into results.
“He can compete with anyone,” coach Westermen said. “He does not have any weaknesses. If he loses, it’s because guys really want to beat him.”
Without any weaknesses, Ko still has room to improve.
“There is always room for improvement,” coach Westermen said. “When you come in as a freshman, it’s a whole other level. Once you get used to it, you relax and become more comfortable out there. With that alone, you’ll play better. If we can boost his confidence, I think he’ll play even better at the Milwaukee Classic.”