In their biggest tournament of the year, the Yale men’s and women’s tennis teams take to the courts this weekend at the Northeast Regional Championships. Each tournament serves as an automatic qualifier for November’s National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship.
Regional competitions begin with a draw, in which each school enters either six or eight singles players and three doubles teams. According to men’s coach Alex Dorato, the main singles draw has 96 players and the doubles draw has 48 pairs. Neither team has extensive experience this season, with only five combined tournaments between the two teams. The men’s team, however, is coming off a strong showing at the Yale Shootout, where they had a combined record of 27–4 over the weekend.
Though neither team has announced their draws, players are aware of what to expect.
“We’ve had three tournaments so far, and Coach Dorato has been gauging how the guys have been playing,” Stefan Doehler ’18 said. “We’ve had sort of a standard lineup since the beginning and have just been shifting guys around, and now also we have a lot of guys who are injured, unfortunately, so that kind of narrows it down to who can even play at all.”
According to Doehler, among the injured Bulldogs is men’s captain Zachary Krumholz ’15, who broke an ankle earlier in the season. Krumholz is a two-time Intercollege Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete.
However, the men have been able to step up without Krumholz. At the Yale Shootout on Oct. 5, the Bulldogs won all eight doubles matches against St. Bonaventure and Bryant.
“As a team, we’ve been getting better as the fall goes on so I am hopeful that we’ll post some solid results [at the Regionals tournament],” Dorato said in an email. “Since all of the Ivy teams will be there, this will be a great barometer of where we are and of what we need to do going forward to prepare for the Ivy League season in the spring.”
There are two major differences between the men’s and women’s tournaments: the number of players entered and the locations. The women only enter six singles players, while the men receive eight spots for singles. According to women’s captain Hanna Yu ’15, the singles players often play doubles as well. Yu said that both regional rankings as well as recent performances are relevant to the draw.
The two tournaments are also played more than 70 miles apart. The men’s competition takes place in Flushing Meadows, New York — the site of the U.S. Open. The women, on the other hand, are playing on a more familiar court: Yale’s Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Additionally, women’s tennis coach Taka Bertrand is directing the women’s competition, meaning that Yale players will have less coaching attention before, during and after each match.
“We’re hosting it at home, so Coach Bertrand will definitely be busy with the tournament,” Yu said. “Whoever is not playing will have to be out there, making sure our teammates are cheering for each other, because the coaches will probably be busy.”
Self-sufficiency aside, the Yale women have proven themselves on the court. At their most recent competition, the Bulldog Invitational on Oct. 12, the women won 10 of 11 matches, including all four doubles matches, on the final day of competition. The team finished with an overall record of 24—11 on the weekend.
The Bulldogs begin play in the Regionals on Thursday, Oct. 16.