Men’s tennis with rough start to 2023

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

tulane mens tennis
Courtesy of Parker Waters

The Tulane men’s tennis team started 2023 by going 1-2 in their three matchups, including losing both times on a rough Mississippi road trip. While the fall session consists of invitationals with multiple schools competing at a tournament, the spring tennis season is defined by matchups against individual schools.

On Jan. 20, the Furman Paladins came to New Orleans to take on the Green Wave. Playing at Tulane’s home court at the City Park Tennis Center, roughly a 20 minute drive from Tulane’s Uptown campus, the hosts came away 6-1 winners

Tulane won all six singles matches with the Paladins managing to win just a single set when Paladin’s No. 1 player Jerry Barton took the first set 6-1 over Tulane No. 1 Fynn Kuenkler. However, the Tulanian rallied to take the next two sets 6-2, 7-5 to secure the match.

Furman did win the doubles point when the Paladin’s top two doubles pairings won their respective matches. The No. 3 pairings for both sides therefore did not finish their match, although Tulanians Benji Jacobson and Luka Petrovic were leading.

Following this, Tulane took a weekend road trip to neighboring Mississippi to take on Southeastern Conference opponents Mississippi State Bulldogs and Ole Miss Rebels.

In Starkville, Mississippi, the Bulldogs claimed a narrow 4-3 win for the hosts on Feb. 3. On the singles side, the two teams split the six matches down the middle. Top two Bulldogs players Nemanja Malesevic and Petar Jovanovic took down Kuenkler and Petrovic respectively, with Malesevic needing all three sets to take down Kuenkler. At the No. 4 spot, Bulldog Ewen Lumsden defeated Luc Hoeijmans in two sets. However, Tulane tied the singles event with victories at the No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 spots thanks to Billy Suarez, Rafael de Alba and Sam Scherer respectively.

On the doubles side, however, the hosts would claim the point and the overall match with victories at the top two doubles pairing. Tulane did win the third doubles pairings, but it was just a consolation.

Traveling to Oxford, Mississippi on Feb. 5, the Rebels took down the Green Wave 5-2. Tulane did win the doubles point after victories from their second and third pairings. However, Ole Miss nearly swept the singles matches with only No. 4 player Alex Bancila winning his match for the Wave. 

For the Green Wave, there are promising signs despite the losses in Mississippi. The lower half of their singles order looks good, especially with players like de Alba and Scherer. Top singles player Kuenkler is also a great piece to headline any singles rotation. The team will need to rethink their strategy on the doubles side with their top pairing not having won a match yet.

Tulane is next in action on Feb. 11 when the Green Wave navigates upriver to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers.

Leave a Comment