KC Corkery Reflects at the End

Sunday was the swan song for Stanford senior KC Corkery, who lost to #14-ranked Somdev Devvarman of Virginia in the Men's NCAA Tennis singles semifinals: 4-6, 7-5, 3-6. Both players talked afterward about the match and what turned in the third set. The pensive Cardinal also reflected upon the end of his college career, the run he had this week, and what lies ahead for him after graduation.

Stanford senior KC Corkery

Opening statement

"It was a good match.  It was three sets.  He's a really good player, who makes you play a lot of balls.  He kind of ran me side-to-side a lot.  I got a little tired.  I don't know.  I felt good a lot early in games, and then I would have mental lapses it seemed.  You really have to put the ball away when you're up at the net.  I kind of let him stick around a bit, and he's a shot maker.  He can really come up with some great passing shots when you give him a target.  He was just a little bit better than me today."

On not playing his best tennis today

"It wasn't, but as you go through a tournament like this, you're not going to play your best tennis every day.  I don't think any one day did I play exceptionally well.  Throughout the tournament, I think a common theme for me was missed opportunities.  A lot of my matches, I would be up a break and let the opponent get back in the match.  Today I started slow in all three sets.  If I was down a break, I broke back but then gave it right back.  It was back and forth.  A lot of times I had game points on my serve or 30-0 on my serve that I just let him hang around, and then he wore me down and finally broke me.  I think the first game I served of the match, I was up 40-0 and got broken.  It was frustrating because I would like to put games away.  I felt like my balls were a little off.  Everything was just a little off - just an inch here, and inch there.  It's a game of inches, I guess.  No, it wasn't my best tennis.  I would be surprised if that was his best tennis.  It's hard to play your very best every day.  You just try to play the best that you can that day.  I thought I did a good job of just hanging in there.  The crowd really helped me out.  They kept me in it.  I think I tried to do what I could today.  A lot of things weren't working.  I really wasn't serving very well at all.  My first serve percentage was pretty abysmal.  I just tried to stay in the points and tried to figure out patterns that would work.  That got me a set and got me a chance to be in that match.  I wish I could say 'next time.'  I thought I did what I could, but just came up a little short."

Reflection on these NCAA Championships

"It was a great week.  This was better than I have ever done at this tournament.  It was great.  I mean, unless you win the tournament you have to lose sometime.  I thought I could get through today.  Somdev is a great player.  Hat's off to him because he played a great match.  But I thought I could get through that day and was just a little short.  I'm not disappointed.  I've had a great career here.  I don't think I'd regret any of the years I have had here.  Every year has been a privilege and a blessing, and I've enjoyed every one."

On his fatigue in the third set

"Yeah, it just hit me like a brick wall.  I don't know what it was.  Maybe just the matches wearing on me.  I hadn't felt the fatigue all week.  Maybe it was a little hotter out there today.  I don't know.  My legs on my serve - I left a lot.  I hit a lot of serves into the net.  I wasn't really getting up on my serve.  Just lazy sometimes with my footwork.  I have to attribute that to him a lot as well.  That's part of his game - he wears you down physically.  He's tough.  Yeah, it hit me.  He kind of got a second wind a little bit before I got mine.  He put his nose out front there in that third set.  I started finding it again and coming back, and then he played a pretty good game that last game.  I had a 'sitter' volley at 30-15 and put that into the net.  That is the type of point that is frustrating, especially against a player like that where he doesn't beat himself.  You really have to go out and beat him.  You play a good point and you get the volley that you want, and then you miss it.  I had just a few too many of those today.  It's just frustrating more than anything.  I think that was the right play.  I was coming in and trying to end the point with how I needed to beat him, but I just didn't get it done."

On what is next in his life

"That's a great question.  I have been trying to put that off as long as possible.  But seriously, obviously I am really into academics as well.  Stanford is a great institution.  I'm not sure what I want to do career-wise.  Tennis has been such a big part of my life since I was a little kid.  I think it would be hard to step away completely from the game.  That being said, I have had a lot of injuries this year.  I was not able to practice the full two weeks leading up to this NCAA tournament.  That's just not fun.  That's not fun, knowing that you're not quite there every day and having to go get worked on in the training room before and after matches.  I have to make that decision.  Now I guess I have some time.  I really just wanted top put my best shot into the winning the team tournament, and that carried over into the individual.  I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team here at Stanford.  I thought we actually had a very good chance of winning the team tournament.  I know we lost in the quarters, and we were the #13 seed or whatever.  Maybe that seems unrealistic to some people, but I thought we actually had a very capable team.  We had a very talented team this year and just lost a real close one to Baylor, who is a very good team, 4-3.  We were up 3-1.  I wanted to put a lot of things aside and make sure I gave my best effort toward this tournament.  See where the chips fall after that."

On the possibility of 'Coach Corkery' in the future

"You know, I love helping my teammates.  I really do.  I think I'm actually pretty good at it.  I worked a lot growing up with Elliot Teltscher, and I really liked him as a coach.  With all my coaches - growing up and my coaches here at Stanford - I have felt like I'm a student of the game.  I really love the game.  I try to learn as much as I can.  I feel like when I'm watching people play, I can kind of see what they could be working on and what they could be doing better.  It's helped me because when I'm playing against someone, I know what they aren't doing as well.  I don't want to go that route yet.  I want to see what else is available.  Tennis has been my life so far.  I want to see what else is out there.  If it is only for a couple years - great.  But I want to branch out and see what else the world has to offer."

Virginia sophomore Somdev Devvarman

Opening statement

"Like I said yesterday, I was expecting a good match.  KC came out today and played well.  It was fun.  I didn't expect the crowd to be so nice to me, but they were awesome.  I was expecting to be booed a little bit more.  It was pretty cool, considering that this was a Stanford crowd.  It was really good.  And me and KC played a good, quality match."

On his reaction to losing the second set - first set dropped this tournament

"I felt like I was in control for the most part of the second set.  He came out serving new balls at 5-all.  But before that, I played a couple lose points in a game and he really took advantage of it.  I knew I could cut those errors down once we were in the third set.  I also saw him getting a little more tired.  He has been in a few longer matches than I have had.  I think that might have caught up to him a little bit.  I definitely felt like I was stronger today and a little fitter than him.  I think that paid off toward the end because I saw him struggling a little bit, and I took advantage of that."

On winning the third set on Corkery's serve

"I was talking to my coaches, Tony and Brian, and all they were saying was: 'Make him earn it.  If he hits good shots, if he hits big serves, that's really good.  Make him earn it.  Make sure you're fighting regardless of the score.'  It was 30-0, and it would have been pretty easy for me to say, 'OK, I'll serve it out next game with new balls.'  But I really wanted him to earn it.  I wasn't going to give him any freebies, and I stuck to that.  When a guy is tiring, he loves for the other guy to give him a few free points.  I was not willing to do that.  It paid off because even though he was up 30-0, I hit a one or two key shots and he missed a couple key volleys.  Next thing you know, I'm at match point.  Play a good point, and I don't have to work anymore with new balls or anything.  That was good."

On playing #1 Benjamin Kohlloeffel in the finals

"Kohlloeffel - great player.  I would say definitely one of the best college players in a while.  He has been very dominant all year.  Everybody knows that.  He knows it.  I know it.  But it comes down to one match tomorrow.  I don't think he has lost a set, has he?  He lost a set - that's right, in the second round.  Well, he's lost one set.  Even though he lost that, I think he was dominating the whole match.  I'm sure he is confident from his last couple of wins.  He has beaten some solid players pretty handily.  I'm sure he's feeling good about his game.  We played one time a year ago - NCAAs.  It was three sets, and he won that.  He played better than me that time.  It comes down to one match tomorrow.  I'm going to give it all that I have.  Let's hope that I play another good match."

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