Men's tennis becomes a force to be reckoned with

January 19, 2001

Kristin Eger, <i>Hullabaloo</i> contributing writer

Unlike most college students, members of the men's tennis team are certainly looking forward to going back to work after the long holiday. After an impressive first half of the 2000-2001 season, men's tennis will try to continue its early successes to finish off a superior season.

In the fall, the tennis team got off to a strong start. At the Tulane Men's Tennis Invitational, freshman Michael Kogan took the Flight A title while the doubles tandem of Derya Rose and Mattias Westerberg took second place in the tournament.

As the season continued, the doubles team of Kogan and Mikko Viljanen captured the title at the Tennessee Fall Classic in Knoxville. Kogan also beat the 10th-ranked player in the nation at the ITA Region III Championship to add another mark in the win column.

Kogan is now ranked 36th in the nation, and Tulane is No. 44 according to the International Tennis Associations Collegiate Mens Tennis Ranking. As the spring semester begins, Coach Robert Klein seems very pleased with his team's accomplishments so far. His eye, however, is focused on the future.

With the NCAA tournament just months away, Klein seeks to improve the impressive work by men's tennis from the fall. Although getting to the NCAA tournament is a feat in itself, Klein believes this season could shape up to be more than just a first-round showing.

"We've made the tournament the last three years. We haven't gotten past the second round yet. We want to be in that Sweet 16 when they go to Athens, Ga.," Klein said. "We feel we have the talent here to be very competitive. We've got the strength at the top and depth at the bottom."

If the first half is any indication of what is to come, the Sweet 16 is looking much sweeter. Tulane will have tough competition to face. Of the 20 matches planned, 15 of the opponents are nationally ranked programs. Tennessee (ranked second) and Texas Christian University (ranked sixth) will be the most difficult opponents.

Other top-15 schools Tulane could faced are Baylor and Southern Methodist University. The first match for the Green Wave is against Michigan and Michigan State on Jan. 26 and 27.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000