The men’s tennis team, which ranked eighth among all Division I teams in the Northeast Region at the end of the 2014–15 season, will embark on its 2015 fall season at the Penn Classic, a three-day event slated to run from this Friday to Sunday.
The Elis finished in the middle of the pack last season but are heading into this season with a highly touted freshman crew. Strong singles and doubles returning players will combine with new faces for a revamped fall tennis season. Furthermore, the Bulldogs have spent much of their time since returning to campus conditioning and bringing the team into top physical form.
“We have had a very tough first week … [the team has] been doing a ton of fitness and trying to get back into shape,” captain Jason Brown ’16 said. “A few of us were working at internships this summer, so it’s important for us to get our fitness back. We’ve been hitting a lot of balls and trying to get our competitive spirit going.”
Ziqi Wang ’18 echoed Brown, adding that team now has official practices for four hours a day, with a particular emphasis on enhancing physical fitness. According to Wang, the players are exceptionally well-prepared in terms of fitness, thanks to the practices.
In their upcoming season opener, the Bulldogs hope to ride on their momentum from last season, which included a number of impressive wins. According to members from last season’s team, a highlight was defeating Northeast Region No. 6 Brown.
This year’s squad features several returning first-team All-Ivy players, led by Tyler Lu ’17, who finished his sophomore season ranked No. 8 in the Northeast Region. Going 13–1 in singles record last spring, Lu defeated Harvard’s Denis Nguyen, who is ranked No. 38 nationally, as well as won the Connecticut State Championship without dropping a single set.
Joining Lu in the returning first-team All-Ivy selection are Stefan Doehler ’18 and Fedor Andrienko ’18, a duo that posted a 24–6 overall record and topped the Ivy League, defeating Princeton’s nationally ranked No. 1 teams in the process. Doehler, who was also named Division I Rookie of the Year for the Northeast Region, enjoyed a successful singles campaign as well, going 22–11 and defeating Brown’s No. 2 player Brandon Yeoh in the season finale.
In the prior season, Lu had earned the same recognition after an impressive rookie campaign in the 2013–14 season.
The highly anticipated incoming class will also make their collegiate debuts at this three-day event.
“The freshmen are the most talented class we have,” Brown said. “All three have a great chance to make both the singles and doubles lineup, and their work ethic has been inspiring to the rest of the team.”
A blue-chip recruit from Germantown, Maryland, Dennis Wang ’19 ranked as high as No. 3 nationally and finished his junior campaign with a regional championship and Maryland state tournament finalist title under his belt. Joining Wang are Charlie Adams ’19 and Nathan Brown ’19, both of who won state champions during their junior campaigns.
The Bulldogs also won several accolades that attest to their success off the courts last season. The team earned the All-Academic Team title as a unit and had nine out of 12 players earn Scholar-Athlete recognition, which requires a grade point average of 3.5 or above throughout the season.
The first match will take place this Friday in Philadelphia.