Men’s Tennis: Combination of experience and young talent will make Northwestern formidable in 2021


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Dominik Stary hits a shot. He collected singles wins against highly-ranked NC State and Harvard teams this season.

Patrick Andres, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

Before the COVID-19 pandemic brought its season to an abrupt halt, Northwestern was on a tear, having collected four wins in their last five matches.

The Wildcats finished the truncated campaign 10-5, the team’s best record since going 22-11 in 2017. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranked NU No. 31 in the country in its final rankings before sports’ abrupt shutdown, trailing only No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 20 Iowa among Big Ten teams. The Cats scored two victories over local rival Illinois, beat Illinois State in their season opener, crushed a solid Vanderbilt team 7-0, and won a 4-3 thriller from a Columbia team that checked in at No. 14 in the ITA rankings at season’s end.

Dominik Stary, a graduate student from the Czech Republic, was NU’s lone representative in the ITA’s top 125 singles players in 2020; he tallied a singles win against No. 6 NC State and a doubles win against No. 17 Harvard. Junior Steven Forman, a highly touted Michigan transfer, delivered the Cats’ most memorable moment of 2020, edging out Columbia’s Jackie Tang in a third-set tiebreaker to seal a 4-3 NU win.

Other key contributors for NU in 2020 included English senior Nick Brookes (twice a victor over ranked singles opponents), accomplished graduate student Chris Ephron and reliable junior Trice Pickens. Freshman Gleb Blekher, who cracked the Association of Tennis Professionals’ top 1500 players in September 2019, leads the newcomers for 2021.

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