Men's Tennis to Play Wisconsin in Big Ten Opener

Boilers set to kick off new season

Feb. 13, 1998
By Shannon Zappa Sports Information Student Assistant

The Purdue men's tennis team will open its Big Ten season with a match against Wisconsin on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Lafayette Sports Center. The Boilermakers, 2-2 and ranked 48th in the nation, are looking to improve on their fourth-place conference finish in 1997.

"Last year there was a huge middle of the pack in the Big Ten and Wisconsin was at that lower end," Purdue coach Tim Madden said. "They have added a very dangerous No. 1 player, which allows them to be tough on top and solidifies the rest of their lineup. They have new life and are going to be hungry."

The Boilermakers will send 80th-ranked Jamie Gordon to the court in the top singles position. Gordon, a junior, has posted a 5-4 spring singles record thus far in '98.

Gordon's classmate Cris James stands at 11-2 this spring. The Alberta, Canada native defeated 100th-ranked Jon Glover of Florida in straight sets to open the dual match season and will be the Boilers No. 2 singles player on Sunday.

Derek Myers completes the junior triad for Purdue. His 5-4 singles record is impressive, but when Myers teams up with James in doubles they are nearly unstoppable. The dynamic duo, ranked 12th in the nation, is 9-1 this spring with their only loss coming in the finals of the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.

"We have more experience because of three juniors in the top three spots, and we can carry the team because of that experience," Gordon said. "The Big Ten teams are not as experienced as we are and that gives us an edge."

"It's really important for Cris (James), Jamie (Gordon) and I to step up and get wins," Myers said. "Other teams in the Big Ten are very deep. We need to look to our freshmen to step up, as well, and be leaders."

One of those freshmen is Jason Marshall. Marshall occupies the No. 4 singles slot with a 6-3 spring record. The rookie, who is 16-7 overall this year, has earned a concrete spot in the Boilermaker lineup.

"The top four singles positions are very solid, but the question is in the five and six singles slots and No. 3 doubles," Madden said. "It is a matter of who earns it."