MEN'S TENNIS: Bulldogs warm up with Duke Bonk Invitational

MEN’S TENNIS: Bulldogs warm up with Duke Bonk Invitational

Online subhead: Four members of the men’s tennis team will travel to North Carolina this weekend to begin the team’s fall season.

Grayson Lambert

12:58 am, Sep 16, 2022

Contributing Reporter

This weekend, the Yale men’s tennis team will kick off its fall season at the Duke Bonk Invitational in North Carolina, joining powerhouse programs like Indiana, Miami and Virginia Tech for a weekend of competition.

Although the official NCAA Division I season will take place in the spring, the fall offers several invitationals and opportunities for players to compete as individuals or in doubles teams apart from their college. The Duke Bonk Invitational will begin on Friday with the first two rounds of doubles and the first round of singles. The next two rounds of singles will play out on Saturday, followed by the final round of both doubles and singles on Sunday.

Entering this weekend, the Bulldogs are unranked in ITA Collegiate rankings. However, Michael Sun ’23 finished last spring ranked No. 123 nationally in singles.

Sun, the team’s sole senior, the two juniors and four sophomores are joined by freshmen Vignesh Gogineni ’26 and Eric Li ’26 this fall. Ohio-native Gogineni has a national ranking high of No. 20 and was a 2022 National High School All-American. Li, who hails from New Jersey, has a national ranking high of No. 7 and has been the top-ranked athlete in the Middle States section since the Boys’ 12s.

“I’m most excited about the atmosphere at matches,” Gogineni said. “I’m looking forward to improving as much as I can in the fall in preparation for the spring.”

Gogineni will be joined by Theo Dean ’24, Walker Oberg ’25 and Luke Neal ’25 this weekend in North Carolina.

Neal spent his summer training with players from the Pacific-12 Conference and looks forward to “[seeing] how [his] game matches up to players from several high-level schools” this weekend.

He particularly looks forward to the hidden duel matches near the end of the fall, which mimics the collegiate format employed in the spring and offers the competitive dynamic of the spring season.

Dean, the captain for the 2022-23 season, trained full time with the team’s coaching staff this summer.

“Over the summer, we all competed in individual tournaments on our own, but competing alongside teammates adds a new element of excitement and energy to competition,” Dean said.

Oberg enters his second year with the Bulldogs having spent between three and four hours every day on the court and fitting in a fitness session each day this summer to develop his game. He is particularly excited to collaborate with his coaches to find ways to improve his strategy.

“We have been talking a lot about the difference between working hard and doing hard work. I’m looking forward to our team doing the hard, often uncomfortable, work that is necessary to compete at a high level,” head coach Chris Drake said. “The guys are up for it.”

Looking ahead, the ITA All-American Championships will begin on Oct. 1 and the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center will host the Connecticut Invite from Oct. 28 to 30.

Members of the team will also travel to the Dartmouth Invitational and Georgia Tech Invitational in October and November, respectively.

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