By: TAYLOR WEITER
Despite what the official schedule may say, tennis season is year-round for the Eastern men and women’s teams. On a Monday, months before regular season matches begin, fluorescent tennis balls can be seen flying throughout the courts of the Greg Adams Tennis Center.
Almost all of the Eastern men’s and women’s tennis players can be found practicing their volleys and serves in the center. Sebastian Mueller, Alex Álvaro, Ramon van Flymen, and Florian Graskamp, however, are not preparing with the others after a successful run in the Southern Intercollegiate Championships this past weekend.
Mueller, Álvaro, van Flymen and Graskamp competed against some of the top players from the best teams in the country at what Head Coach Rob Oertel described as the “epicenter of collegiate tennis” in Athens, GA.
The men went 7-5 overall in the tournament with Graskamp finishing 3-1, van Flymen and Álvaro finishing 2-1 and Mueller finishing 0-2.
“There are no chumps in this tournament and for us to win more matches than we lost is such a strong statement,” Oertel says. “It speaks volumes for the level of our men’s program.”
Though the tournament featured seven players ranked in the top-125, Eastern players are accustomed to playing high-caliber opponents. The men’s tennis team has won the OVC and sequentially competed in the NCCA Tournament four times in the last six years.
Oertel believes this year should be no different. Only losing three players to graduation and transfers, he likes the base of players he has for the men’s team and is not finished recruiting for the upcoming regular season.
The women’s team, who’s season ended last spring in a loss to Morehead State at the OVC Championship, is looking to receive three new women that may fill the void left by four graduated players.
With the official regular season starting in February, the outlook on either team is still to be determined, says Oertel. Lineups and rosters can change throughout the semester.
The fall, non-traditional season will continue for both teams Sept. 18 and 19 at the Western & Southern Invitational in Mason, Ohio.