Lukas Flippo, Senior Photographer

Last weekend, Yale’s men’s tennis team (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) had a successful outing with 7–0 wins against Buffalo University (0–3, 0–0 Mid-American) on Friday and Fairfield University (1-1, 0-0 Metro-Atlantic) on Sunday. 

The team was also originally slated to play Temple University on Saturday, but the match was postponed due to the inclement weather brought by the Nor’easter. Prior to this weekend, the men’s most recent regular season match was a 7–0 victory against Fairfield on Mar. 7, 2020. This weekend brought the first collegiate regular season matches for the team’s four freshmen and two sophomores: Shervin Dehmoubed ’25, Luke Neal ’25, Walker Oberg ’25, Aidan Reilly ’25, Theo Dean ’24 and Renaud Lefevre ’24.

“It was exciting to see so many guys get their first wins in team competition with the Yale jersey on,” men’s tennis head coach Chris Drake said. “The guys played with a lot of enthusiasm, and they were really excited to represent Yale in team competition and I think that showed in their play.” 

According to Drake, the team’s priority this season is to increase its competitive level both within the Ivy League and on a national level. With a quality squad and months of consistent drilling and practice matches, the team is optimistic of a winning season. Standouts include Michael Sun ’23, who ranked 69th in the ITA Collegiate Tennis Division I Men’s National Rankings in December. Sun, currently playing the top line of singles, noted his pride in his current ranking, but recognizes the constant room for improvement. 

In an interview, Sun also said he missed his team’s camaraderie and “was especially excited for all of the underclassmen who got their first college wins this weekend.” 

Luke Neal ’25 expressed that the team’s entire year has been building up to these dual matches, where he appreciated the competition and his team’s energy. This weekend, Neal was sixth in the ladder. However, he noted that the line-up is constantly changing, which incentivizes players to keep their skills fresh and continue to improve throughout the season.

Aidan Reilly ’25 attributes the team’s success this weekend to their “willingness to push each other to improve.” He also recognized his teammates’ dedication to putting in extra work as a driving factor in their success. Reilly identified head coach Chris Drake and assistant coach Eduardo Ugalde’s focus on each player’s individual tennis needs as a primary driver in the team’s wins. Walker Oberg ’25 echoed the same gratitude held for the coaches, particularly the team’s volunteer assistant coach Ryan Cheng.

Even with the team’s success this past weekend, the players are still determined to continue improving their abilities. Reilly, who played in the second line of doubles with Theo Dean ’24 this weekend, said that the team has a long way to go to be in a position to compete against and “put pressure on some of the top teams in the country.” 

According to Neal, the team’s goal is to accumulate at least four wins in the Ivy League season. Reilly suggested that in order to see the results that he and his team are hoping for, each player must “maintain individual improvement.”

Coach Drake shares that this upcoming weekend will be a test for the team. “Different environments bring new challenges, and [the team] will be tested against both Butler and Indiana.” However, Drake has full confidence in his players and is eager to see how the team responds to their upcoming challenge.

Next weekend, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams will be travelling to Indiana. There, the men will take on the Butler Bulldogs (2–2, 0–0 Big East) on Friday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. and Indiana (2–0, 0–0 Big Ten) on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. The women will compete against the Hoosiers on Friday at 5 p.m. and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3–2, 0–0 Atlantic Coast) on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The men’s team’s first conference match will be on April 3 at Brown (4–1, 0–0 Ivy) and their first home conference match will take place on April 16 against Cornell (4–0, 0–0).

Last weekend, the Yale women’s tennis team (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) opened its 2022 spring season with a 6–1 victory over Boston University (1–2, 0–0 Patriot) and a 7–0 triumph over Quinnipiac University (0–2, 0–0 Metro Atlantic). 

Grayson Lambert is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College from Atlanta, double-majoring in Applied Mathematics and Economics. She covers tennis, men's ice hockey, and crew.