The Indiana men's tennis team is in action this week, when it competes in the Big Ten Singles Championships from Saturday, November 16 through Monday, November 18, held at the University of Minnesota.
About the Event
The Big Ten Singles Championships will consist of a 64 singles draw with a first and second round consolation bracket. There will also be a seven and eight man flight bracket.
The following men's tennis players will be competing this weekend at the Big Ten Singles Championships: John Stone, Viktor Libel, Julien Vulliez, Ryan Recht, Tom Bagnato, Jakub Praibis.
News 'N' Notes
Senior Zach Held will not make the trip to Minnesota after being diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear.
Tom Bagnato, Ryan Recht and Jullien Vulliez all saw action in the qualifying round of singles at the ITA/Omni Hotels Midwest Championships hosted by the University of Wisconsin, with Bagnato and Vulliez claiming victories. Bagnato picked up a convincing 6-0, 6-1 win over Western Illinois' Patrick Lowder. Vulliez would not have such an easy time with his opponent, edging Michigan's Vinneth Gossain, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
In the second day of competition the Indiana men's tennis team were eliminated from singles action. The two Hoosiers remaining in the singles draw, Jullien Vulliez and Tom Bagnato, both lost. Vulliez fell to Michigan State's Cameron Marshall, 6-4, 6-2. As for Bagnato, he suffered a close 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Dipesh Rao.
The Indiana men's tennis team's run at the ITA/Omni Hotels Midwest Regional Championships came to an end on Sunday, October 27.
Stone and Recht claimed an 8-2 win over Iowa's Hunter Skogman and Tres Jones, then edged Wisconsin-Green Bay's Jarett Cascino and Ben Davis, 9-8 (9) before falling to Northern Illinois' Erick Martinez and Juan Pablo Barriga, 8-3 in the round of 16.
In other doubles action, Jullien Vulliez and Tom Bagnato were bounced in the first round after losing an 8-5 decision to Michigan's Chris Rolf and Vineeth Gossain.
Jakub Praibis and Viktor Libal also competed in doubles, falling to Minnesota's Aleksey Zharinov and Chris Wettengel, 8-3.
Baseline Tennis Center
The Big Ten Singles Championships will take place at the Baseline Tennis Center on the campus of Minnesota. The grand opening of this state-of-the-art facility was on November 4, 2002.
Currently there are 18 courts, 10 indoor and 8 outdoor, with the possibility of four additional outdoor courts. The indoor courts have 30-foot ceilings and are heated during the winter months and air-conditioned during the summer. The courts have plexi-type of pavement to provide more cushion than a typical hard court.
Other luxury features of the Baseline Tennis Center include, chair-back seating, electronic bleachers, an electronic scoreboard, a sound system, and a concession stand.
Last Year at the Big Ten Singles Championship
The 2001 Big Ten Singles Championships was held in East Lansing, Mich. Each of the three Hoosiers that remained in the consolations won their first match. Junior Zach Held picked up the first win when Scott Green of Wisconsin withdrew from the tournament. The highest seeded Hoosiers remaining, 12th-seeded senior Rahman Smiley, eliminated the 16th-seed Adam Martin of Illinois in three sets. After losing the first set to Martin 6-4, Smiley rebounded to defeat the Illini player 6-3, 6-3.
Freshman Tommy Bagnato defeated the 14th-seed Alex Kasarov of Wisconsin in a hard found three set match. The score of the match was 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Bagnato and Smiley both continued their winning ways in the third round. Bagnato defeated Jason Gonzaga of Wisconsin in another three set match 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. Smiley, on the other hand, disposed of Michigan State's Goran Topalo in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
After two hard found three set victories, Bagnato could not find the winning touch and lost to Jamie Sahara of Northwestern 6-3, 6-1. Smiley found the same fate as Bagnato in the quarterfinals. The Hoosier senior lost to Stuart Waters of Iowa 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Head Coach Ken Hydinger Entering his 19th season as coach of the Hoosiers, Hydinger has compiled a 251-190-1 record against all Indiana opponents. Against Big Ten competition he has racked up a 117-97 Big Ten mark. In his 18 seasons, Hydinger's teams have only finished the year with a sub-.500 record three times, while recording over 20 wins four times. In 2000-01 under Hydinger, the Hoosiers finished 14-9 overall and qualified for their third consecutive NCAA Tournament.
In the eight seasons prior to Hydinger's arrival the Hoosiers consistently finished near the bottom of the Big Ten.
Since 1985 Hydinger's teams have finished as one of the top five Big Ten schools 12 times, including a pair of runner-up finishes in 1990 and 1992. His 1988-1989 team made an appearance in the top 20 during the season before finishing the year ranked 24th, while the 1991-1992 squad spent most of the season in the nation's top 20. Both of these squads were ranked as high as 11th in the nation at one point throughout their seasons.
Hydinger's outstanding efforts over the past 18 seasons have not gone unnoticed, either. The 1992 Big Ten coach of the year, Hydinger has produced 19 all-Big Ten Players, the 1995 Big Ten Sportsman of the Year and two Big Ten Freshman of the Year award-winners.
During the 1992 season, when Hydinger earned conference coach of the year honors, he led Indiana to a 16-8 record, including an 11-2 mark in Big Ten play. IU's 11-2 conference record that year established a new school record for wins during the conference season. In addition, the 1992 squad's .846 winning percentage against conference opposition was the highest percentage since 1974, when the Hoosiers won eight of their nine Big Ten matches (.889 pct.)
In his four seasons at Mississippi State, Hydinger posted three winning seasons and helped develop the school's winning tradition. Before that, he spent a season at Southwest Missouri State, posting a 23-3 record and earning a No. 8 ranking in the NCAA Division II polls.
A graduate of Pepperdine University, Hydinger played on teams that were ranked in the top 10 for three consecutive seasons. After graduating with a B.S. in physical education in 1974, Hydinger moved to Murray State where he worked as a graduate assistant while earning his master's degree in physical education.
Q & A with Coach Hydinger
Q: What do you expect from the team this coming weekend?
"We expect everybody competing to fight like mad. The things we are hoping for is everybody to have some sort of break through experience. This is a quality tournament and we want to see some of the guys improve. You can work as hard as you want in practice and say that you are improving, but you are not a better player until you beat better players."
Q: How is the team going to prepare this week for the Big Ten Singles Tournament?
"As always we are going to continue to work hard on our physical fitness, we will continue to work hard on movement, we will continue to work hard on serves and returns, we will continue to work hard on stopping unforced errors. Practice is going to be a mixture of drills and sets, pretty much business as usual."
Hoosiers Higher New Assistant Coach
On November 11, 2002 head coach Ken Hydinger announced the hiring of Matthew Pledger as the new men's tennis assistant coach.
Prior to coming to Indiana Pledger served as the head tennis professional at Middletown Tennis Club in Middletown, Ohio. There he was responsible for Junior Development and the growth of the future tennis program.
Pledger graduated from Mississippi State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Fitness Management, with a minor in Business. At Mississippi State Pledger was named to the All-South Eastern Conference tennis team on two occasions and in 1997 earned First Team All-American honors. Academically Pledger excelled as well, earning Academic All-South Eastern Conference on twice.
Pledger has a wealth of experience touring professionally. From 1997-2000 he competed on the ATP Tour, the Challenger Circuit, and the Futures Circuit. During this stint Pledger obtained a doubles rankings of 256 in the world and a singles ranking of 653.
Pledger Excited about Joining IU Staff
"I am very excited to be here. I feel that this is going to be great fit for myself. I think that it is going to be an exciting year and I have a lot to offer the program."
Hydinger Regarding Pledger
"Matthew (Pledger) will bring a wide variety of things to our program," coach Hydinger said. "Starting off, he is a good character guy with an outstanding work ethic. Number two, he brings professional experience and can bring great exposure to the highest level of tennis. Three, he is a guy that has improved greatly as a player, so he has that conviction of the properties that make players improve. He is excited about being here, so he is going to help at all aspects of the program."