The Yale men’s and women’s tennis teams will kick off their respective seasons this weekend with a triad of tournaments running this Friday through Sunday.
On the men’s side, competition will take place simultaneously in New Haven and at Princeton for the Ivy Plus Tournament. The women’s team willl travel to Michigan for the Wolverine Invitational and to Alabama for the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational. Although the Bulldog men (0–0, 0–0 Ivy) turned in a lackluster finish at the end of last year’s season, their performance at the 2018 Ivy Plus event was one of their best showings of the year. Despite limited success in singles, the doubles duo of Michael Sun ’22 and Alan Sou ’21 made it to the finals of the doubles draw. Overall, the Elis had a strong performance in doubles. The Elis will look for redemption after a loss in last year’s finals to Columbia and will specifically aim to improve on their singles performance.
“Being the first tournament of the fall season, this event is mostly about getting guys back into competition,” the men’s head coach, Chris Drake, said.
The men’s squad has been hard at work preparing for the season, so the Ivy Plus tournament will offer a competitive environment for the Bulldogs to test their new lineup early on.
This weekend, the men’s team takes on individual competitors from Boston University, Brown, Dartmouth, Delaware and Harvard in the two tournaments. Seven players from Yale will participate this weekend, playing both singles and doubles. According to Drake, the format “is pretty loose”, and the tournament will pair players against opposing players of similar skill levels to create the proper environment for players to acclimate and prepare for the season.
“For our team we are focusing on doing as well with controllable factors as we can: preparation, competitive presence and making good tactical decisions on court,” Drake said. “I am more concerned with how we do with these things than the results of the event.”
The Yale women’s team (0–0, 0–0 Ivy) , which does not feature any seniors this year, commences its fall season on Friday in Alabama and Michigan. Half of the team will head to Ann Arbor to compete in the Wolverine Invitational whereas the other half heads to Auburn for the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational.
The format of both tournaments differs from normal matches in that there is no team scoring — everybody will compete individually in a round robin schedule. Yale will face some stiff competition against teams such as No. 20 Kansas and No. 16 Michigan. These tournaments will be a good opportunity for younger players to get warmed up for the upcoming season and will also serve as an early test for an unproven Bulldogs squad.
“We… control our destiny,” women’s head coach Danielle McNamara said at the conclusion of last season. This will be put to the test as the relatively inexperienced team begins their 2019-20 campaign.
The Yale women did not participate in either the Wolverine or Auburn Invitationals last season. Instead, they opened their 2018–19 campaign at home at the Bulldog Invitational. The Elis posted a 17–7 record in individual matches in their previous season opener, a strong start that helped catapult them into a successful season, in which the Bulldogs secured a 4–1 mark in Ancient Eight play.
Akshar Agarwal | email@example.com