The Purdue’s men’s tennis team played University of Toledo this past Saturday, coming out on top with a 6-1 victory. A winning start to the season is a step in the right direction for Purdue.
“We need to get better with every match coming up,” head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. “We have a lot of newcomers joining the team. They have performed very well so far.”
The Boilermakers are always looking to improve their play. After the first match, the team will be able to identify what it needs to work on moving into the season.
“We want to make sure that we work hard everyday and get better with every match,” Gajdzik said.
Even though the team is focused on future matches, the Boilermakers try not to look too far ahead and take each match a step at a time, according to Gajdzik.
Gajdzik said he was excited to see the team on the court playing. The players did not have team practices for a few weeks, so clenching a big win was a great start after not playing together for some time.
Purdue dominated doubles play. Position 2 with sophomore Maksymilian Raupuk and junior Athel Bennett won their match 6-4. Junior Franz Luna and senior Dominik Sochurek were in position 3 and won their match 6-3, while position 1 went unfinished due to the wins on courts two and three.
Sophomore Mateo Julio and junior Stephan Koenigsfest played at the number one spot in their doubles match against Toledo. Gajdzik said Julio and Koenigsfest are both aggressive players that have big serves, are able to move well and have good returns which are elements that are important for a doubles pair. Gajdzik also mentioned that the two players have the grit to win matches.
“(Koenigsfest) and (Julio) have played good matches, and we want to give them the opportunity to play position 1 doubles and test them at that spot. They have a lot of potential,” Gajdzik said.
Gajdzik looks for players who have good chemistry and can complement each other based on what they are doing and how they are earning points.
The team has a few new players this season. Gajdzik claims it is normal to have mid-year additions to the team because the majority of the team are international students. It is typical for students to finish school in the fall and immediately go to college.
Freshman Santiago Galan began his Purdue career in the match against Toledo on Saturday. He was the first to finish his singles match, giving the team it’s second point. Galan is from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and came to Purdue a week ago to play tennis for the Boilermakers.
“I need to get a little more used to playing college tennis, but I am really happy with how I did today,” Galan said.
Two goals Galan mentioned he had for the season are to become faster in his shots and to become more aggressive.
Luna is another new addition to the Boilermakers, transferring to Purdue in the fall. He said that everyone brings their own qualities to the team to help Purdue win.
“I think the mental aspect is going to play a big role in this season. We need to be mentally stronger and work as a team at that,” Luna said.
The Boilermakers take the court next at 10 a.m. on Jan. 20 in Des Moines, Iowa, against Duke University.