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Men’s Tennis: Irish open spring with three foes

Katelyn Grabarek | Friday, January 22, 2010

Notre Dame will open the spring season today against William & Mary before hosting IUPUI and No. 2 Virginia Sunday. The Irish begin the season ranked No. 30 in the country.

“I don’t put a lot of stock in rankings, especially pre-season ones,” Irish coach Bobby Bayliss said. “Ours is based primarily on last year’s finish.”

Notre Dame closed the fall season against the same William & Mary squad it meets today.

“William & Mary has already played four matches, so we have an idea of what to expect,” Bayliss said. “They beat us two years ago, but we handled them last year at their place. They usually are quite good in doubles, so it will be important for us to meet that challenge early.”

The Irish are coming off of losing their number one singles players and have some questions about who will fill the void for them this season. Someone will need to step up quickly as Virginia presents top-level competition.

“[Virginia’s] top player, Sanam Singh, reached the semi-finals of an ATP event just a few weeks ago in Chennai, India, that included Robin Soderling and Marin Cilic,” Bayliss said.

“Both of those guys are currently ranked in the world’s top ten and are now in the Australian Open. That gives you an idea of Virginia’s level.”

Considering the difficulty of the opening weekend for the Irish, Bayliss feels that one of the most difficult challenges facing the team this year will be the difficulty of their schedule.

“I feel we are good enough to take on this schedule, but we need to be sufficiently resilient to handle some losses and rebound well to take advantage of the large number of opportunities that we will have,” Bayliss said.

The Irish will need to be on top of their game this weekend as they open dual match play on Friday with first serve set for 5 p.m. against William & Mary.