A week after its last two tournaments, the men’s tennis team is ready to take on three of its biggest competitors — Dartmouth, Columbia and Cornell — at the Yale Invitational tournament this Saturday and Sunday.

The Invitational will be at Yale’s home courts all day Saturday and Sunday. Ryan Murphy ’05, Andrew Rosenfeld ’04, Rowan Reynolds ’06, Brandon Wai ’07, and Milosz Gudzowski ’06 are the players most likely to compete in the Yale Invitational.

Though the upcoming tournament is not as important for the team’s ranking as the ECAC Championships Oct. 3 to 6, coach Alex Dorato believes this weekend will give him a better idea of each player’s skill level.

“We are playing these tournaments to determine our lineup,” Dorato said.

The Bulldogs have greatly benefited this season from not graduating any players last year. Though captain David Goldman ’04 is out for the remainder of the fall season with a stress fracture and knee surgery had sidelined Johnny Lu ’05, the Bulldogs have been competing well. At the Farnsworth Invitational Tournament last weekend, doubles teams Murphy/Wai, and Rosenfeld/Reynolds advanced to the semifinals. In singles, Murphy and Rosenfeld both advanced to the quarter finals.

“Unfortunately, we have those two injuries,” Dorato said, Á to Goldman and Lu. “But that shouldn’t hold us back. I think we’re going to be really good. We have everybody back from last year’s starting lineup, and we have two new freshmen. The team atmosphere is very good.”

The team has already faced players from both Columbia and Cornell, but not Dartmouth. Last weekend, both Murphy and Rosenfeld defeated players from Columbia in singles (both 6-2, 6-3), but both doubles teams fell to their Columbia counterparts.

With a 2002-03 record of 16-7 (3-4 Ivy), Cornell did not lose any starters and gained five new freshman. The team is hoping No. 1 singles player Zach Gallin will lead the the Big Red. Cornell’s Scott Palowitz defeated Murphy this past weekend in a close three-set match.

For Dartmouth, Borko Kereshi won two of his three singles matches in the Vorkl Shootout Tournament last weekend, and captain Neal Bobba both won two of his three singles matches. The Big Green is also relying on freshman Travis Maiers for a good season.

Columbia’s team, which lost to Yale last spring in head-to-head competition, should have a stronger squad this season. Rohan Saikia defeated Reynolds last weekend, and the doubles team of Michael Accordino and Yoku Kiuchi won the “B” doubles title at last week’s Princeton Invitational.

Goldman does not feel that this weekend will be too much of a challenge, though.

“This weekend is really a warmup for next weekend,” Goldman said.

While Cornell, Dartmouth and Columbia all have fairly strong teams this season, Goldman thinks that Yale’s real competition will come from Harvard’s team, whom the Bulldogs will face at the ECAC tournament, at the U.S. Open Courts. Goldman believes that Harvard and Yale are the favorites to win the Ivy League title this fall.

“Harvard is probably the best but we’re right up there with them,” Goldman said.