Bears hunting for hardware: Men’s tennis to compete in ITA Indoor Championship

Graduate transfer Ryan Dickerson prepares for his singles match against the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center. Dickerson defeated Aditya Gupta 6-3, 6-0 on court four. Dickerson and the Baylor men’s tennis team will face Wake Forest in a rematch to open the ITA Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis., this weekend. DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

By Braden Simmons | Reporter

Baylor men’s tennis heads to Madison, Wis., today to compete in the indoor tournament championship. The Bears open up the tournament as the eighth seed with a rematch against ninth-seeded Wake Forest today at 6:30 p.m.

Coming off a dominating opening weekend in the tournament in late January, Baylor punched its ticket to the indoor championship with wins over Gonzaga by a score of 4-0 and Louisville 4-1. The Bears are also coming off a strong performances last week, going 2-0 with wins against sixth-ranked Wake Forest and Penn State.

Head coach Brian Boland said he is excited to see where his team measures up in its rematch with Wake Forest team.

“We certainly know a little more about Wake Forest after competing with them last week,” Boland said. “That was a close match and we are going to have to work hard and be ready to go for this one.”

Graduate transfer Ryan Dickerson said he thinks the rematch against Wake Forest will be beneficial to both teams.

“I think it helps us because you know the lineups a little better,” Dickerson said. “It helps both teams but we know what we’re getting into and know the kind personnel they have.”

Dickerson said he knows it will be a tough matchup due to the program Wake Forest has instilled under head coach Tony Bresky.

“They are always a tough team,” Dickerson said. “Coach Bresky has done a great job since he took over. I’m impressed at how he has recruited and has his guys playing at the highest level competing for a national championship every year.”

Boland said the team will rely on their depth with injuries still a factor for the team.

“You can’t just depend on the starting line,” Boland said. “You need everybody, and with these guys getting opportunities to be put under pressure, that perhaps, some of them would not have been if everything was smoother in terms of our health, helps create an opportunity.”

Dickerson said with the depth on the team, he feels like he is in a “professional academy” environment to train every day. With the amount of depth, great players are sometimes left off the court but Dickerson said every player is supportive regardless of their role.

Boland said he believes after the loss to Arkansas, the team has built momentum heading into this weekend’s tournament.

“We came away from Arkansas with a good amount of pain, but our guys were ready to get back on the court,” Boland said. “You learn a lot about your team by how they lose together and it’s a testament to the guys in how they push each other.”

According to Boland, some of the players are getting “close to being fully healthy” but they aren’t quite there yet. The player’s recovery process has gone better than expected. Boland also said he is optimistic that sophomore Adrian Boitan could be back in action this weekend and he feels “readier than ever.”

The Bears beat Wake Forest 5-2 in a competitive matchup in Waco. The rematch being in Wisconsin will make it harder away from the fans, according to Boland.

“We have the best fans in the country,” Boland said. “The number of fans coming out to support us and for many of them, for their first time, are coming back and enjoying it.”

The lineup for the team was set Monday before the tournament schedule was announced. Boland said the match against Wake Forest will look different from Thursday’s match, but there will also be some of the same matchups as well.

“I’m confident, but Wake Forest is going to give it their all,” Boland said. “They are a competitive group and they gave us all we had here at Baylor and they will be excited to play us again.”

Baylor is appearing at the tournament for the 10th time in program history. The Bears won their first indoor championship in 2005.