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Men’s Tennis: Pair of Northwestern players prepare for singles tournament

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Strong Kirchheimer reaches to serve. The senior is one of two NU players set to compete at the NCAA Singles Tournament.

Strong Kirchheimer reaches to serve. The senior is one of two NU players set to compete at the NCAA Singles Tournament.

Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Strong Kirchheimer reaches to serve. The senior is one of two NU players set to compete at the NCAA Singles Tournament.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

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Men’s Tennis


Two Northwestern players have one last chance to leave an imprint on college tennis.

Starting Wednesday in Athens, Georgia, seniors Konrad Zieba and Strong Kirchheimer will begin competition in the end-of-year NCAA Singles Tournament. The event features 64 of the top players competing as individuals after the team season has concluded.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to play the best players in the country,” coach Arvid Swan said. “These two guys have an opportunity to try and make an impact on the tournament.”

Kirchheimer enters the tournament ranked No. 37 and will kick off the competition against No. 49 Gabriel Friedrich of South Carolina with a possible second round matchup with No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest looming.

Zieba qualified as an alternate and currently sports the No. 67 ranking. He will play No. 51 Josh Hagar of Notre Dame in the first round and like Kirchheimer, has a difficult potential second round draw in No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State.

“I was an alternate going in, so I’m just really lucky to be playing in the best tournament in college tennis,” Zieba said. “I’m looking forward to my match tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.”

Both players will graduate soon, and this tournament will be their last chance to compete at the collegiate level.

Kirchheimer plans to pursue a professional tennis career, so this will be one of many individual competitions in which he takes part. Zieba however, plans to move on from tennis after graduation and sees this opportunity as the capstone to a successful season and career before he moves on to his next chapter.

“It’s my last college tournament,” Zieba said. “This tournament is special because it is extremely hard to qualify, and I think you need to do consistently well throughout the entire year to make it. So there is a lot of pride going into it.”

For Kirchheimer, the tournament will mark the end of his most successful season of college tennis. The senior rose to the No. 1 singles spot and compiled a 27-11 record on the year. With a solid performance in this tournament, he could move into second all-time in program history for singles wins.

Both players lost early in last year’s tournament and are hoping to do better this time. With tough matchups potentially awaiting both players if they make it out of the first round, both said they are excited to see what will happen in their final collegiate competition.

“Hopefully I can have a better outcome than last year. I was out pretty quick,” Kirchheimer said. “I’m just looking to see what can happen.”

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Twitter: @benjyapelbaum

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