WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s tennis team begins conference play at home Wednesday with Indiana traveling north to the Schwartz Tennis Center. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. indoors on the Basham Courts.
The Boilermakers enter the rivalry match 3-5 with home wins over Detroit Mercy, Eastern Kentucky and Toldeo. Their last loss was to head coach Pawel Gajdzik’s alma mater, No. 12 Baylor, in Waco, Texas.
As of Tuesday’s Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, doubles tandem Athell Bennett and Gergely Madarasz moved from No. 34 to No. 44, while Madarasz reentered the singles rankings at No. 61. The senior is 7-1 this spring at the first position, despite struggling in his lone fall appearance. Madarasz started the year at No. 56.
The Hoosiers are 5-4 overall with notable wins against Arizona at home and Southern Methodist in a neutral site match in Los Angeles, California. On that trip, the team also fell to No. 5 USC in its sole dual against a ranked program.
On the road, Indiana is 1-3 this season and last won at Purdue in 2012. Since then, the host team has been victorious in each meeting, while the Hoosier claimed a neutral site dual in Urbana, Illinois at the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament.
From Coach Gajdzik
“We’ve had a strong 10 days of practice and recovery since our last match,” Gajdzik said. “We had a few guys who needed to heal, but I’ve seen a lot of improvement on the court as well. Our season will really pick up now that we’re in conference play, and I think our team is back to 100% entering the match against the Hoosiers and our doubleheader Saturday.
“Gery is a great competitor. He’s been a force for us on the court, and he has really embraced the role of a leader his senior season. The younger guys have learned a lot from him and that is because he’s taken ownership of the team. In a very mature way, he guides our young squad through his experiences and really shows them how to do things the right way.
“I’m very happy to see Gery back in the rankings. He didn’t play as many tournaments in the fall, but he’s earned some good wins already this spring over players from Baylor and UNLV.
“It’s great to be opening Big Ten play at home against our rival, Indiana. Every team in the conference is really good, and every team will present its own challenges, but this match is definitely special. Our roster is going to experience a bit of a christening, as the majority of the team hasn’t played IU at home. In fact, our four freshman are going to finally see what Big Ten tennis is all about on Wednesday.”