oThe University of Minnesota Men's Tennis Team is ranked 19th in the preseason ITA national rankings. The Golden Gophers are the second-highest ranked team from the Big Ten.
Minnesota returns six of eight letterwinners, including All-American Thomas Haug. The Golden Gophers have five of their top six singles and four of their top six doubles players back from last season. Minnesota was ranked No. 22 at the end of the 2001-02 season.
Individually, Haug is ranked 54th in singles, while junior Aleksey Zharinov is rated 58th. Haug and sophomore Avery Ticer are ranked 49th in doubles.
The Golden Gophers will have to offset the loss of All-American Harsh Mankad, who left school to pursue a professional career. Mankad spent most of last season ranked No. 1 in the nation and finished ranked fifth.
Head Coach David Geatz begins his 15th season at the helm of the Golden Gopher program. With a record of 259-123, he needs just two victories to pass Jerry Noyce and become the school's all-time winningest coach.
Minnesota opens the dual meet season on Jan. 25 when it hosts No. 30 SMU and No. 38 Tulane. The matches will be held at the brand-new Baseline Tennis Center.