Tulane men’s tennis seeks to dominate with young, energetic roster

Jude Papillion, Sports Editor

After solid play in their 2020-21 campaign, the Tulane men’s tennis team is back in action. The team opened their season in the Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational on Oct. 1-3. 

Last season, the Green Wave men’s tennis finished 15-8 and ranked No. 23 in the season’s final Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, after falling 4-0 in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament to No. 15 Ole Miss. The season also included an NCAA Doubles Championship appearance by fifth-year senior Ewan Moore and senior Hamish Stewart, with the pair suffering defeat in the first round. Tulane lost its nationally 21st-ranked doubles pair, now that Moore has moved onto the ATP Tour and Stewart has transferred to the University of Georgia.

However, Tulane still has Mark Booras, the team’s coach of 13 years, who was awarded Coach of the Year honors by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Booras is optimistic about the 2021 season and his team, despite not having any seniors on the team

“We lost our top three players from last year and returned our numbers four, five and six,” Booras said. “We have a very young team and the thing that we love is we’ve got a lot of great new energy and excitement.” 

Booras is also excited about the Green Wave’s tough slate of opponents. “It’s going to be great. We have another tough schedule with 15 or more teams who are in the top 40 in the country which is fantastic,” Booras said. Tulane will match up against Stanford, LSU, Auburn, Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Texas Christian University. 

The 2021-22 season is already underway, as the Green Wave competed in the three-day MSU Bulldog Invitational in Starkville, Mississippi. The Green Wave faced Mississippi State University on the competition’s opening day, splitting the doubles competition with the Bulldogs. Tulane was victorious in only one singles match, as redshirt junior Benji Jacobson beat Seth Richey of Mississippi State in straight sets 7-6, 6-3. 

The Green Wave fared better on day two, winning three of the four doubles matches and posting wins after facing both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Wichita State Shockers. “The guys all brought great intensity and focus to our match against a very tough Alabama team and we saw a lot of success from many different spots in the lineup,” Booras said following singles wins from Billy Suarez, Fynn Kuenkler, Alex Bancila and Charlie Barry. 

Tulane returned to action for the final day of the competition, only collecting one doubles win on the day by defeating Wichita State in a 7-5 Bancila and Jacobson win. The Green Wave saw three singles wins to end the tournament, with Rafael de Alba, Luc Hoeijmans and Luka Petrovic all posting wins against opponents from the University of Michigan and Wichita State. 

The Tulane men’s tennis program is now looking forward to the five-day ITA Southern Regional. The competition will be hosted from Oct. 14 through Oct. 18 in Auburn, Alabama as the team looks to improve event by event. “We go to that [NCAA tournament] and we’re pumped, but we want to be in the Sweet 16 or the Final Four,” Booras said. “We look at Tulane as a program that can be nationally relevant every year.”