April 1, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s tennis team continues the pursuit of its first conference win this weekend when it hosts No. 58 Northwestern on Friday and No. 24 Wisconsin on Sunday.
“We continue to compete even though we have taken many close losses,” head coach Tim Madden said. “Sometimes it only takes one or two wins to turn things around. If a few individuals could be a little tougher when that important moment of truth comes in competition, we could gain so much confidence as a team. I am anxious to see who will show that leadership this weekend.”
Purdue (6-10, 0-4) is facing a ranked opponent for the ninth and 10th times this season, a total that includes all of its Big Ten opponents. The Boilermakers have fallen by a score of 4-3 in three of their four conference losses and seven of their 10 defeats this season. Purdue is led in singles victories by senior P.J. Rose and junior Slavko Bijelica, who each enter the weekend with identical 10-5 records in 2009.
Rose has ascended into a tie for the team lead in wins by putting together a three-match winning streak. The Highland, Ill., native has tied his season-long streak of victories and also is 8-7 this season with doubles partner Branko Kuzmanovic. The duo had claimed four victories in a row before falling in a tiebreak last Saturday at Indiana.
Bijelica has played at the No. 1 singles and doubles position in all 15 matches he has appeared. The Novi Sad, Serbia, native has teamed with senior Griff Nienberg, who is 4-4 in singles play, to take the top spot in Purdue’s doubles lineup. Nienberg has played one doubles match with freshman Roberto Cabrini, who has appeared in singles in all of Purdue’s matches this season, and the duo is 1-0.
Sophomore Eric Ramos
is third on the team with his nine singles victories against six losses. Ramos has won two consecutive singles matches and two straight doubles contests. The Alameda, Calif., native is 11-4 this season in doubles competition, a mark made up of a 7-3 record with junior Paul Foley
and a 4-1 record with freshman Thomas Wilson
Northwestern (13-6, 1-3) is coming off a 4-3 home loss to Michigan on Sunday. The Wildcats are led from the No. 1 position by senior Marc Dwyer, who is 11-7 in 2009. Freshman Joshua Graves and junior Alex Sanborn share the team lead with 14 singles victories. Northwestern is 2-5 in road matches this season and was defeated 5-2 by Purdue in last year’s match.
Wisconsin (13-5, 2-2) travels to take on Northwestern on Saturday before facing the Boilermakers. The Badgers come to West Lafayette with two ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team. Junior Moritz Baumann is ranked 31st in the latest singles rankings and teams up with sophomore Marek Michalicka, who is ranked 47th in singles, to make up the 15th-ranked doubles team in the NCAA. Baumann, who plays as Wisconsin’s No. 1 singles player, is 18-0 this season.
Sunday’s match pits Madden against his alma matter, where he was three times an All-Big Ten player and twice the conference’s Sportsman of the Year. Madden lettered at Wisconsin from 1985-88 and was voted team captain and the team’s Most Valuable Player his final two seasons. He graduated from Wisconsin owning 23 school records and still ranks third on the school’s career singles wins list.
Sunday also is a cancer benefit day. Pink tennis balls will be available for purchase for $2 for one or $5 for three. Spectators that buy the balls can compete in a ball toss to win Purdue tennis prizes, and all proceeds will go to the fight against cancer. The Boilermaker Special will be giving rides to the Schwartz Tennis Center between 1-2 p.m. and back from 5-6 p.m. The pickup points are in front of Gate A at Mackey Arena and outside the front doors of the Recreational Sports Center.
The Boilermakers and Wildcats are set to begin their match at 3 p.m. ET, while Purdue takes on Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Admission to matches at the Schwartz Tennis Center is free. Live scoring for both matches will be available at purduesports.com.