No more doubles trouble

teve Silver

Seniors Tommy Hanus and Chuck Perrin lost their first match as Northwestern’s No. 1 doubles team.

But they didn’t care, and it really didn’t matter.

“I knew once time took effect we would do fine,” Perrin said. “It was tough playing conditions and we just brushed that one off.”

Since that loss the duo has won five consecutive doubles matches. The Wildcats (9-10, 4-3 Big Ten) had not been able to depend on a consistent victory at the No. 1 doubles spot until Hanus and Perrin paired up.

The previous No. 1 doubles team of Perrin and sophomore Christian Tempke had posted a 3-7 record.

“We were struggling with the doubles point and we felt we needed a change,” coach Paul Torricelli said. “Tommy and Chuck had expressed an interest in playing together, and its good to mix things up.

“You get to a point where you are willing to try whatever will work.”

Hanus and Perrin’s only loss this season came to No. 11 Pepperdine on March 23. Pepperdine’s Pedro Rico and Scott Doerner defeated Hanus and Perrin 8-4.

Hanus joked about the loss.

“There wasn’t much of a match that day, ” Hanus said. “I was sick all week so we couldn’t put up much of a fight. We just wanted to get out of there and start playing the Big Ten matches.”

Since moving to No. 1, Hanus and Perrin are 4-0 in the Big Ten and have defeated their opponents by an average of 2.8 games per match.

“They both have big serves that can make them a pretty intimidating team,” Torricelli said. “They are feeding off that right now.”

Torricelli said he will keep Hanus and Perrin together as NU prepares for its final road trip of the season this weekend.

NU will take on Big Ten-leading No. 2 Illinois (16-3, 6-0) on Saturday and Big Ten bottom-feeding Purdue (3-12, 0-6) on Sunday.

“We are really picking up our momentum now, so you can’t ever think a match is going to be too tough or too easy,” said Perrin, who was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week on Wednesday.

“We will have to raise our game the extra level to beat Illinois, but Purdue is a great team, too, that has a lot of motivation to beat us.”

With only three matches remaining before the Big Ten tournament, Hanus and Perrin said they will take some time to rest and then follow their usual routine in order to prolong their win streak.

Although the duo was put together late in the season, their winning record does not reflect their lack of match experience together.

“It has become natural for us to play together,” Perrin said. “I know his returns before he even hits them, and I think he feels the same way about me.”

Reach Steve Silver at [email protected]