The men’s tennis team is off to a fresh start this weekend at the Princeton/Farnsworth Invitational in New Jersey.

With an arsenal of highly talented freshmen and several key players back on the squad, the Bulldogs are more confident than ever heading into their season opener.

“I think this will be a really big season for us,” Brandon Wai ’07 said. “We have four new freshmen who are really good out on the courts.”

Wai, an All-Ivy selection last year, will not be competing at Princeton. Instead, he will be playing in a University of Virginia tournament.

The newcomers include Thomas Santoro ’09, Jeff Dawson ’09, and Michael Caldwell ’09 and Joshua Lederman ’09.

The Bulldogs, including Lederman, who is still ailing from an injury, will get a chance to play against a barrage of other schools at the Princeton/Farnsworth Invitational. The field features familiar foes Columbia and Penn.

“This has always been a strong tournament,” Milosz Gudzowski ’06 said. “Overall, just about all of us will be working hard to win our matches.”

The Elis will definitely be keeping a close eye on the Quakers, who finished 5-2 and placed second in the Ivies last season right behind Harvard, who finished 7-0.

Despite a 3-4 Ivy season last year (7-16 overall), the Bulldogs believe they have what it takes this season to challenge the upper echelon of the Ancient Eight. Both Wai and Gudzowski now feel they are more experienced after getting the chance to play with some professional tennis players over the summer. At this year’s Pilot Pen, held at the Yale tennis courts last month, Wai received a wild card into the qualifiers. He played well, but fell narrowly in the first round to Sargis Sargsian, 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Gudzowski hit around with James Blake.

“It gave me a lot of confidence knowing I can play with the pros,” Wai said. “I feel that I can definitely play with the college students if I can be competitive with the pros.”