The men’s tennis team finished off their season at the Navy Fall Invitational this past weekend. Only three teammates played at the tournament in Annapolis, Maryland: senior Bill Duo and freshmen Aidan Mahoney and Filippos Astreinidis. The Tigers have not played in the Navy Invitational since 2017.
On the first day of the tournament, each Tiger split their two singles matches. Aidan Mahoney was defeated by Alessandro D’Anna of Long Island University, 2–6, 1–6. Mahoney bounced back in his next game with a 6–1, 6–2 win over The Naval Academy’s Cy McLeod.
Filippos Astreinidis, after a solid performance last week at the Wake Forest Invitational, began the weekend with a 6–3, 7–5 win over Finn Garner of Navy. Astreinidis then lost a tough match, 4–6, 6–7, against another Navy athlete, Dimitri Bezborodov. Bill Duo kicked off his final fall tournament with a win over Monmouth University’s Niels Van Noord, 6–2, 6–3. In his next game, however, he fell to Navy’s Derrick Thompson, 5–7, 2–6.
Duo and Astreinidis also notched a doubles win on the first day, beating out William Pak and Sasha Panyan of Navy, 6–2.
On Saturday, Duo secured the Tigers’ only win of the day after pulling out a come-from-behind 3-set victory against Pierce Gilheany of the University of Delaware, 5–7, 7–5, 6–2.
Astreinidis fell to Jake Fishkin of Navy and Mahoney suffered two losses by the day’s end.
“Personally, this weekend I’ve felt as if I’ve played well and competed my absolute best, but my inexperience really showed in a lot of crucial moments throughout some of my matches this weekend.,” Mahoney said.
On the last day of the tournament, Mahoney wrapped up with a 6–2, 6–2 victory over Navy’s Eric Liu. Astreinidis also earned a singles win after his opponent retired. Duo lost his last singles match of the tournament against Roko Horvat of Columbia, 4–6, 4–6. Duo and Astreinidis finished with a 1–2 doubles record on the day, with their sole victory coming over Navy, 6–4.
With the end of the Navy Invitational, the Tigers have concluded their fall season play.
“It was good to end the fall season with more competitive opportunities,” said Head Coach Billy Pate, reflecting on the tournament. “Though we were a bit up and down on the weekend there were certainly many positives and it was good to see the freshmen continue to get some much-needed matches.”
The fall has been all about growth for the freshman players.
“As a freshman and a walk-on to the team, my expectations for the rest of the season are personally to continue gaining experience at this level and improving my game,” Mahoney said.
With five experienced seniors who are all returning starters, the first-year players have less pressure on themselves and have the opportunity to learn from the upperclassmen, according to Pate.
Prior to the tennis season being halted in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19, the Tigers were No. 18 in the country and positioning themselves to have a strong shot at the Ivy League title and advancement into the NCAA tournament. The men’s tennis team is promising similar expectations for the rest of the 2021-22 season.
“Despite not competing last year, our players took it upon themselves to train and compete together while continuing to prepare themselves for a return to competition at Princeton,” Pate said. “We’re excited about what is in store for us this spring.”
Arav Jagroop is a contributor to the ‘Prince’ sports section. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.