Courtesy of Musco Sports Photos

Last weekend, four members of the Yale men’s tennis team traveled to North Carolina, where they kicked off the team’s fall season at the Duke Bonk Invitational. There, they joined powerhouse programs like Indiana University, the University of Miami and Virginia Tech for a weekend of tough competition.

First-year Vignesh Gogineni ’26 took home his first collegiate wins at the tournament, ultimately winning the B flight via a 6–2, 6–2 victory over UNC Wilmington’s Davide Inocenti in the singles final.

“I’m obviously very proud of my results but definitely there are some lessons to be learned and things to improve,” Gogineni wrote to the News. “I’m mostly going to work on consistency and focus throughout matches and having a routine/rituals before and during matches.”

Duke University hosted this weekend’s invitational at the Cary Tennis Park. The invitational is named in honor of the late James Bonk, a longtime professor of chemistry at Duke.

Walker Oberg ’25 also boasted a successful performance at the tournament, advancing to the final in the C flight before losing to Miami’s Antonio Pratt in a tight third set victory (6–3, 3–6, 5–7).

“Playing more matches than usual for collegiate matches, I physically took care of myself to be able to perform to the best that I could for three days in a row,” Oberg said.

Luke Neal ’25, the only other sophomore that traveled to North Carolina, noted the high-level competition from the eight schools present.

All four Bulldogs played both singles and doubles this weekend, with Gogineni playing with Dean and Oberg with Neal.

“I’m going to keep working on aggression and trying to start points on the offense, and I’m looking forward to regionals in October and getting another opportunity to compete,” Neal said.

Gogineni, Oberg and Neal were joined by the team’s captain Theo Dean ’24 in competition this weekend. 

“Looking forward, we will continue to focus on maintaining a process-oriented mindset as opposed to a result-oriented mindset,” Dean wrote to the News. “While winning and getting nice results is always fun, we are going to do our best to place more emphasis and value on the process: being professional with our training, having good competitive energy and doing the hard work.”

Eduardo Ugalde, the assistant coach of men’s tennis, also traveled with the team to Duke, where he spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach.

Head coach of Yale men’s tennis Chris Drake highlighted Gogineni and Oberg’s successes in their respective fights, as well as Neal’s strong wins over players from UNC Charlotte and Virginia Tech.

“I think all four players showed a high level of play over the weekend,” Drake said. “Also, Coach Ugalde did an excellent job keeping the guys focused on the right things throughout the weekend. We try to hold the guys to a high standard with things they can control and I think Ugalde really helped keep their minds focused well all weekend.”

The team will next compete together at the Dartmouth Invitational in late October. However, Dean and Michael Sun ’23 will also compete in the ITA All American qualifying competition in early October.

This weekend, the women’s tennis team will kick off fall competition with the Bulldog Invitational. They will host Rutgers on Friday, followed by Boston University on Saturday and Brown on Sunday. Although the results of the Yale-Brown match-up will not count towards season standings, the Bulldogs will get a glimpse at what this spring’s Ivy competition may look like.

Sasha Wood ’24 said she looked forward to her first competition with the Bulldogs after competing as a Columbia Lion for her first two years of college. 

Most days, Wood’s summer training consisted of double sessions: one “technical and tactical” block in the morning and a second consisting of matches in the afternoon. 

First-year student Ann Wright Guerry ’26 shared that most summer days she played four to five hours with conditioning and lifting mixed in. Additionally, she competed in clay court and hard court nationals. 

“I can’t wait to compete as a team! In junior tennis,” Guerry wrote to the News, “it’s almost entirely individual, so I’m super excited to be competing alongside some fantastic players.”

Looking ahead, ITA competition for the women will begin the last weekend in September, and the team will next compete together at the Brown Invitational on Oct. 21.


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.