No. 58 IU will open its Big Ten slate today when it makes the short trip to West Lafayette, Indiana, to face No. 39 Purdue.
The Hoosiers beat the Boilermakers 4-0 in Bloomington in last year’s matchup, but the Hoosiers are entering this year’s with a six-match losing streak.
Senior Sam Monette admitted that the mood after the two losses last Thursday and Friday may not be the most optimal heading into the Big Ten opener, but he said this run of results has made the team even more united as they seek to break the streak.
IU Coach Jeremy Wurtzman said he told the team it can still benefit if it looks at the losses with the right frame of mind and learns from those games.
“The experiences we’ve had playing these great teams away prepared us,” Wurtzman said. “We are prepared to play today.”
The Boilermakers are also going into this match after losing 5-2 to No. 44 Drake in Iowa on Feb. 26.
IU has played its last six games on the road, with its last home match being a victory over Washington on Feb. 2. Wurtzman believes the strength of the opponents coupled with the experience of road games will come in handy today.
“It helps that we can just drive a couple of hours and that would definitely help with the preparation of the match,” Wurtzman said. “It’s not such a long trip to get there and practice. It will be easier on their bodies and mentally as well.”
The Boilermakers have three new players the Hoosiers have not played against before, but Wurtzman said he already knows the threat they pose.
“We’ve never seen them at all,” Wurtzman said. “Two started in January, and it’s their number one and two so obviously they’re good.”
Gergely Madarasz, who usually plays at No. 1 singles for Purdue, is currently ranked No. 58 and had a career-high junior ranking of 149 in the International Tennis Federation and played on the Hungarian Davis Cup team in 2014.
Purdue’s Benjamin Ugarte, who usually plays at No. 2 singles, had a career-high junior ranking of 43 in the ITF and has competed in the main draws of the US Open Junior Championships and Junior Wimbledon Championships.
IU may also look to continue experimenting with changes in its doubles lineups. Monette played with fellow senior Daniel Bednarczyk in the doubles last season, but was paired with sophomore Raheel Manji during the last road trip.
Wurtzman said nothing is set in stone yet, and they were changing the lineups because they have been losing a few doubles points and would like a fresh start. But they may also go back to their usual pairings, depending on the form of the players.
“The doubles point is very important in college tennis,” Monette said. “It’s a lot better going into the singles knowing that you are 1-0 up than 1-0 down.”
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