High hopes for men’s tennis at the beginning of their spring season

| Staff Writer

Photo by Clara Richards | Student Life

Coming off of a dominant fall season, the Washington University men’s tennis team is hoping to bring the same energy to their spring games. In an interview with Student Life, junior Gaurav Singh gave insight into what he is looking forward to this spring

Background

The WashU Men’s Tennis team is competitive with its peers, whether that be other Division III teams or some local Division II teams. Singh specifically pointed out a unique characteristic of the WashU team: everyone is very close together in terms of level and skill. He added that other teams have a larger disparity between players and that the closeness of the WashU team was a strength of the group.

Going into the spring season, the team picked up a few promising recruits in the freshman class, as well as two transfers, both of whom are coming from Division I schools. “I think we are definitely looking better than last year and to do some damage at Indoor Championships,” said Singh “And then more importantly, later in the year at conference and hopefully at NCAAs.”

Big Matchups

The most notable competition that the team is set to go to this year is the National Indoor Championships which will take place in Minnesota this year. Eight teams are invited and the Championship follows a compass draw model, allowing players to play at least three matches.

“Last year we got third place. We lost to Chicago and we kind of had a brutal moment with an injury or two,” said Singh “But, we’re looking to do really well there this year.”

In April, the team will travel down to Florida to compete in its UAA Conference Tournament. This tournament determines whether or not the team will qualify for the NCAA tournament, an important goal for the Bears this year.

Looking to Break the Curse

In Singh’s freshman year, the team lost in the national semifinals to Case Western Reserve University. Just last year, the team lost in the Elite Eight to Middlebury College. But this year, it is hoping for redemption in the postseason.

One example of the odd luck that has followed the team was when they faced their biggest rival, Emory University. “Prior to my freshman year, I think we had lost to them five or six years in a row. Coming into sophomore year, we were scheduled to play Emory at the first round of national indoors,” he said “The last match was playing and it was our line six singles guy. He was playing a really close match and he just split sets. And he started to cramp up so all of us started freaking out. But then, our coach said, ‘Does anyone have like pickle juice or mustard?’” 

At that point, Gaurav ran to the refrigerator to see if any ingredients were in the facility. Surprisingly, there was a small bottle of mustard tucked away behind two bottles of Gatorade. The coach proceeded to give it to the cramping player, and miraculously, the player ended up winning the third set six to two.

Gaurav finished the story with something that was on everyone’s mind after that last set, “I guess something magical was in that mustard.” 

The team has one matchup under its belt, a 7-2 win against Division I Lindenwood University, a big team win where all the singles won their matches. They face South Baptist University on Feb. 11 before heading to ITA Indoor Nationals in St. Peter, Minnesota. 

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