By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
The reigning Big 12 Men’s Tennis Tournament Champions don’t have time to look to the past. As the No. 5 Baylor men’s tennis team prepares to begin the 2020 spring season, the Bears are looking to add more success to the Baylor name this year.
“I think the guys are very excited to compete,” head coach Brian Boland said. “This is a competitive group of guys. They’ve worked really hard. We added a ton of depth this year, some new blood to the program, so I think that’s made things even more exciting and we’re looking forward to it.”
Picked No. 1 in the Big 12 Preseason Poll and coming off their ninth Big 12 title and a deep run in the 2019 NCAA tournament, the Bears are focused on going further this spring without focusing too much on what they’ve achieved in the past.
One of four returning players to Baylor’s roster this year, and formerly part of the No. 1 doubles team in the nation last year, junior Sven Lah said that success would come by taking the season one match at a time.
“It’s always nice to see the results from the past, but I don’t think that anyone is kind of looking back and focusing on that,” Lah said. “Maybe, at some point we’ll see what we can do better from last year. I’m sure Coach Boland has his own plans. But for my own personal development, I don’t think it’s good to go back in the past or too deep in the future.”
Alongside Lah, the Bears return senior Constantin Frantzen, junior Matias Soto and sophomore Adrian Boitan while welcoming eight new players to their roster. Senior transfer Ryan Dickerson joins the team after three seasons at Duke and sophomore Finn Bass, who has been with the team since Jan. 2019 but had to sit out the season due to NCAA requirements, will play on his first official season this spring.
Six true freshmen join the Bears, including the highly anticipated Jenson Brooksby, who competed in the 2019 US Open in New York City at the end of last summer after signing with Baylor in Dec. 2018, .
“Against teams that have deep rosters, I think it’s going to be great,” Lah said. “I think all 12 guys can play in any position, one through six, singles and doubles. But I think they’re going to develop, adapt quickly… It’s going to be tough for them but I think everybody’s going to do a great job to help them come in and start the season.”
With so many good players, however, the field for playing time will bring more competitiveness to the team, which Boland said he was hoping for.
“I want to create that culture,” Boland said. “I want guys to feel like there’s nothing guaranteed and they have to come in and get better, work hard every day and not only do they need to earn it as young guys but nobody’s really, terribly comfortable when they’re veterans. They need to continue to get better and that’s what it’s all about.”
Baylor faces off against Boise State at 2 p.m. and then against UT Arlington at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center.