IU men’s tennis is set to face Wisconsin at 3 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the 2020-21 Big Ten Tournament at the Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
This is the second time that the Hoosiers will play the Badgers this season. In their first meeting on March 26, IU picked up a 5-2 victory in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We’re confident going in because we were able to beat them at their place, but at the same time, we can’t let our guard down and expect that it’s going to be the same way this time,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said.
In the last meeting between the two teams, IU dropped the doubles and No. 2 singles points to start the match. The team bounced back to claim wins in the five remaining singles matches.
“It’s going to be important that we try to play better and challenge ourselves to win the doubles point this time around,” Wurtzman said. “I think the doubles points and first sets are key, especially in a Big Ten tournament.”
IU finished its regular-season schedule last weekend with a home match against No. 16 Illinois. Wurtzman said he was glad to get in a match over the weekend but his team discussed how it wanted more after its 4-0 loss to the Fighting Illini.
“We felt that we didn’t leave it all out there and that there’s more to give,” Wurtzman said. “It’s kind of put everything we’ve gone through, all the different lessons that we’ve learned throughout the season, into play and not make the same mistakes again at the tournament.”
The Big Ten tournament will run from April 29 to May 2. If IU defeats Wisconsin it will move on to face Illinois in the next round.
IU enters the match with a 6-9 conference record on the season, while Wisconsin sits at 5-11. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series with a record of 51-28 and look to continue a three-match win streak over the Badgers.
“It’s going to be a great, competitive match,” Wurtzman said. “We definitely have to be ready to go from the start.”
Wurtzman said that the Big Ten Tournament is an opportunity for teams to prove themselves, and he’s continued to discuss this with his players. Going into the match, the team knows that they have no time to waste.
“If you get up 1-0 with that doubles point and then get some first sets, it makes it hard for that other team to come back,” he said. “That’s going to be key tomorrow that we really focus in and play great doubles, and that we really get going in singles matches early and take some leads.”