IU men’s tennis will play No. 16 Illinois at 3 p.m. Saturday at the IU Tennis Center.
“We’re happy to have an opportunity to play them at home,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said Thursday. “Whatever we can do to make that advantage go our way, we’re going to try and do. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
The match was rescheduled from March 19. It will be the first time the two programs have seen each other since a 6-1 victory by Illinois on March 10, 2019. The Fighting Illini maintain the lead in the series with an overall record of 48-46.
“Illinois is a team we circle every year,” Wurtzman said. “We’ve come close a couple times since we’ve been here, and we’ve had some really good matches with them.”
This marks the first time the Hoosiers will play since April 11. The match against Purdue previously scheduled for April 17 was canceled due to COVID-19 issues in the Boilermaker program.
“You don’t really want weekends off, but we used this time to prepare not only for Illinois, but for the Big Ten Tournament.” Wurtzman said. “We emphasized more on the mental side of the game and talked about what we could’ve done better for some of the matches that didn’t go our way.”
This match marks the end of IU’s regular-season schedule, with the Big Ten Tournament following from April 29 to May 2. The Hoosiers look to end an eight-match losing streak against the Fighting Illini.
“We’ve been close to a lot of teams that are very similar to Illinois, like Ohio State and Michigan, and although the score maybe didn’t show it, they were very competitive matches,” Wurtzman said. “This is just another opportunity to play one of the best teams in the conference at our home courts.”
Although postseason play is rapidly approaching, Wurtzman emphasized the significance of finishing the season off strong with the chance to play Illinois.
“We feel like we have a lot to gain and really nothing to lose in this match,” he said. “It’s a good mindset for us going in.”