Men’s Tennis Moves into Off-Season After ITA Regionals

After a promising first day, the men’s tennis team struggled to find victory during the second day of the ITA Regional Tournament, leaving the athletes excited to focus on their main season in the spring.

By Ali Sheehy

The UChicago men’s tennis team was back on the court this weekend in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Tournament held at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. The Maroons faced several opponents over the course of three days including Washington University in St. Louis, Case Western ReserveUniversity, Kenyon College, and more.

The Maroons, led by head coach Jay Tee, are coming off an impressive andrecord-breaking 2018-19 season. They went 20-3 in their regular season and had sixplayers invited to the NCAA DIII Singles and Doubles Championships held over Memorial Day. This included the doubles pair of current fourth-years Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar,who made it all the way to the semifinals before ultimately losing to Bowdoin College after a tough three sets.Heading into this season though, players, including second-yearJoshua Xu, are confident and optimistic about the team’s chances this year.

“Last year was a great season in terms of achieving records we’ve never done before. But with nearly all of our lineup returning and a strong freshman class, we’re in a good position to do even better this year.” Xu continued to say that in preparation for this year, “We know what our strengths and weaknesses are and we’re preparing the only way we know how—train hard and compete harder.”The Maroons definitely competed hard this weekend.

On the first day of competition, they posted an 8-1 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record. In singles play,No. 4 seeded Kerrigan defeated opponents from DePauw (6-2, 6-2) and Lake Forest (6-1, 6-4).

Third-year Jeremy Yuan, who was seeded No. 8, also had impressive results on the first day as he beat players from Kenyon College (6-4, 6-0) and DePauw (6-2, 6-3). First-year Sachin Das had a great collegiate debut, recording two wins against Trine University (6-0, 6-1) and Kenyon College (6-3, 6-3) before ultimately losing a tough match to Case Western Reserve.

Xu contributed heavily to the Maroons record with wins over Webster (6-1, 6-1) and Oberlin (6-2, 6-2).Kerrigan and Xu also had an impact on the first day with their respective doubles teams. The No. 1 seeded duo of Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar defeated a pair from John Caroll 8-1, while the No. 3 seeded pair of Xu and Tyler Raclin beat a team from Wheaton College by the same margin.Unfortunately, the second day of competition included the defeats of Xu, Kerrigan, and Yuan in singles play, as well as the pair of Kerrigan and Kumar in doubles play.

The duo of Xu and Raclin however, were able to overtake pairs from Principia College (8-4) and Kenyon College (8-4), allowing them to advance to the doubles team semi-finals the next day.On Sunday, Xu and Raclin went on to defeat the Case Western duo of Hennessey and Powell by 8-3, advancing to the championship doubles match. However, the No. 5 seeded pair from Case Western ultimately defeated the Maroon pair in a hard-fought final match. CRWU took the first set 6-4, with the Maroons winning the second set 6-3, but losing in the tie-breaker 10-5, causing Xu and Raclin to be the runner-up, still an amazing accomplishment.Although the Maroons had some success this weekend, the players acknowledge that they can do better.

According to Xu, “There were a lot of good things to take away from this weekend and a lot of things we know we need to work on during the offseason. Fall ITA’s are always a good benchmark, but’s time to focus and prepare for what really matters—the regular season.”The UChicago men’s tennis team enters their offseason training looking to prepare for their first regular-season match on January 25 againstLewis College.