After a few weeks of successful competition, the Drake University men’s tennis team is off to yet another event. In previous years, the Bulldogs had started off their season with the Drake Invite. A tournament played here at Drake.
Some of the players had the chance to compete in the Milwaukee Tennis Classic as well. The Milwaukee Tennis Classic is a tournament in which two players are chosen from the Drake tennis team to compete in the event. The Milwaukee Tennis Classic was different from other tournaments this fall semester because the winner of the singles and doubles draws were rewarded with a wild card into the Nationals, which will be played at the end of the fall season.
Up next, Drake men’s tennis takes on the All-American Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Four players were selected from Drake to compete in this event: juniors Jeremy Schifris and Matija Matic, senior Oliver Johannsson and fifth-year Evan Fragistas.
The selection was done by Universal Tennis Rating, which is a number rating system used to rate tennis players. A player’s Universal Tennis Rating can go up or down depending on whether they win or lose as well as the score in the matches that the tennis players play in.
Johansson, Fragistas and Matic will all play in the pre-qualifying draw starting on Sept. 30. Schifris will compete in the main draw starting on Oct. 5.
The pre-qualifying draws will run from Oct. 1-2. On Oct. 3, the qualifying draw will begin and will run through Oct. 4. The main draw will begin on Oct. 5 and last through Oct. 9.
The tournament starts with 256 players in the pre-qualify singles and from there the players begin to decrease after being eliminated.
The qualifying singles would have 128 players, then the main draw singles would have 64 players. Each draw has a certain number of players who are automatically qualified and a certain number of spots for qualifiers.
The qualifying singles will have 112 automatic qualifiers and 16 spots left for players from the pre-qualifying draw. The main draw will have 48 automatic qualifiers and 16 qualifying spots from the qualifying draw.
This tournament has both a singles and doubles draw. The doubles draw will only have a qualifying draw as opposed to a pre-qualifier and a qualifying draw.
For this tournament, the doubles pairs from Drake were Schifris and Johansson along with Fragistas and Matic. The two pairs were selected for the main draw after having a strong performance in doubles in the past spring season. Both pairs have a top 10 regional ranking based on their performance from last season.
Matic shared his thoughts on competing in the tournament, citing his excitement to compete against other collegiate athletes.
“I am excited for the opportunity to compete in the tournament,” Matic said. “I think it’ll be a great opportunity for us to be able to compete against other collegiate athletes.”
Fragistas said that his final year as a Bulldog puts some added emphasis on the opportunity to play.
“This is my last year here at Drake. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to compete in this tournament again,” Fragistas said. “I am looking forward to playing in the tournament again as well as the chance to go further than the year before.”
The Bulldogs will compete in the Bulldog Invite after the competition this weekend.