Jan. 18, 2014
The 34th-ranked Minnesota men’s tennis team will open its 2014 season this Sunday with a trip to Stillwater, Okla., where it will take on Oklahoma State. It will be the only match of the team’s opening weekend before it heads to Lexington, Ky. for the ITA National Team Indoor Regional, where it will play No. 29 Notre Dame, followed by either No. 9 Kentucky or BYU.
A Fresh Start in 2014
In its seventh season under head coach Geoff Young in 2013, Minnesota finished with a 15-11 record and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to eventual national champion Virginia. After a 3-8 start, the Gophers went 11-3 down the stretch, including a 9-1 finish to Big Ten conference play. Senior Rok Bonin also competed in the NCAAs as an individual. This year’s squad returns seven of the nine players from a year ago, including a strong, five-member junior class.
About Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State is coming off a 12-14 season in which it finished 0-5 in the Big 12. The Cowboys return nine upperclassmen from 2013 and welcome three freshmen. OSU is also debuting the brand-new Greenwood Tennis Center this weekend. Oklahoma State’s new facility has six indoor courts and 12 future outdoor courts, as well as a video board and electronic scoreboards. OSU’s season begins Friday at the Greenwood Tennis Center with matches against Southern Illinois and South Dakota State.
Against Oklahoma State
Hamburg and Froment Ranked
The Gophers are 2-5 all-time against the Cowboys, but are playing them for the first time in over a decade this weekend. Oklahoma State ended Minnesota’s 2003 season, a 21-6 year for the Gophers, with a 4-2 second-round NCAA Tournament win.
After an 11-2 record in the fall that included runs to the USTA/ITA Division I Men's Central Regional and Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic championship matches, as well as a seven-match winning streak, junior doubles duo Jack Hamburg
and Mathieu Froment
will enter the spring as the 47th-ranked tandem in the nation. After serving as the Gophers’ No. 1 doubles team in 2013, Hamburg and Froment go into the spring with an 18-10 overall record together. Other Returnees
Leading this year’s group of returnees in singles is junior Leandro Toledo
, who began the fall ranked 53rd in singles after earning his second All-Big Ten selection last season. In addition to Hamburg, Froment, and Toledo, the junior class will be rounded out by Eric Frueh
and Tucker Saxon
. Juan Pablo Ramirez
, who rejoined the squad after missing the fall, is the team’s lone senior, while Ruben Weber
is Minnesota’s only sophomore.
Minnesota welcomes two freshmen to the team this season, Jeremy Lynn and Franz Sydow. Lynn comes to the Gophers from Joplin High School in Missouri, while Sydow joins the team from Amsterdam, Netherlands. Both players notched their first collegiate singles wins against Princeton opponents at the Gopher Invitational in the fall.
Match Format Changes
The ITA Women's Operating Committee has approved and mandated a new ITA Women's Experimental Format to be played from Jan. 1 through the ITA Women's Team Indoor Championships, Feb. 10. The dual meet will consist of three doubles matches played first (worth a total of one point), followed by six singles matches, each individual match worth one point. Four points are required to win the team match. The three doubles matches will each consist of one set, with regular scoring and a tiebreaker at 6-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. Six singles matches will follow the doubles. Each singles match is two out of three sets, with each set using regular scoring, and a match tiebreaker in lieu of the third set.