The newly minted Tiger tennis team hopes to start out the 2017 season on a high note, as the team splits to attend two critical national invitational tournaments hosted at Duke and University of Pennsylvania, respectively. It will be a test of strength and confidence for a Princeton team that retains key elements of last year’s stalwart team, despite losses to graduation, and welcomes one of its strongest first-year classes ever.
The steady Tigers finished last year with a respectable 14–12 record, including 4–3 in Ivy League play. Princeton nabbed key matchups against Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, and Harvard, though they would fall to nationally ranked Columbia and Cornell University teams, in addition to other stellar squads such as Michigan and Wisconsin. This year, the Tigers expect to remain competitive in challenging conference and non-conference play, hoping to avenge their prior losses to Cornell and Columbia as well as anticipating novel challenges from new teams, such as a ranked South Florida team. The Tigers also hope to have a greater presence in the NCAA championships in the spring, building on the accomplishments of senior Luke Gamble and Alex Day ’17, who were the first doubles pair to qualify for the tournament from Princeton since 2001.
Four Princeton players — senior Kial Kaiser, senior Diego Vives Toro, junior Jimmy Wasserman, and sophomore Payton Holden — will travel down south to take on powerful squads, many of them ACC-affiliated, from Duke, North Carolina, and Auburn, among others. All of the Princeton players had impressive performances on the court last year; notably, Wasserman finished with a highly respectable 17–12 record, while Austin native Holden was the team’s top performer on the court last year, with 20 wins in singles and 25 wins in doubles. Ranked just out of the top 100 for singles last year, Holden hopes to improve on his stance this season.
In the meantime, senior Ben Tso, sophomore Davey Roberts, sophomore Eduardo Paz, and Princeton’s freshman recruit class of four will make their way down to Philadelphia, where they will face off against some familiar names in Princeton tennis: Columbia, Penn, and Yale, among others. Ranked ninth in the nation, Princeton’s recruiting class of 2021 has high hopes of becoming one of the most talented and accomplished generations of Princeton tennis, with players like Ryan Seggerman, ranked 14th nationally in his recruiting class, and Kabir Sarita, ranked 40th in his recruiting class, aspiring to set a new bar for Princeton tennis. They’ll be an excellent complement to the hungry and skilled generation of returning veterans on the Princeton squad.
As it faces significant hurdles and powerful foes, Princeton’s tennis program remains undaunted in its continued upward trend and its fight to enter the most prestigious tiers of collegiate tennis. Armed with both a formidable incoming class and a crop of talented veterans, the team is a serious threat to any other on the court this year.