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Men’s Tennis 2022 Season Preview

Jan 13, 2022

SEATTLE – With one of the largest rosters in years past, the Washington Men's Tennis team has the numbers and depth to be a force to be reckoned with this season. With only three seniors on the squad, the Huskies youth will also serve them this year and years to come. 
"Our depth is better," said Head Coach Matt Anger. "We are still going to have a lot of guys returning after this year. So, I really like the way this is laying out for now and the future."
The Dawgs open their season on Monday, January 17 where they will host Boise State. This is the first of a long home stretch for the Washington tennis squad where they don't compete on the road until March 5, against Oregon. Within this home-match stretch is the ITA National Team Indoors that the Dawgs will host February 18-21. 
"We have been talking about the ITA National Indoors for a long time," said Anger. "It is a great opportunity for not only University of Washington Tennis but the Seattle tennis community. It is the highest level of tennis that will be here. It is a great event on its own, then you get to us, and we get to play the top schools at our place."
Coach Anger is excited to get the season underway and prove themselves after last season.
"Coming off of last year, our guys knew we were a young team and had much higher aspirations," said Anger. "They are eager to get after it this season." 

Jack Davis heads into his fifth year, having been ranked in both singles and doubles.

Jack Davis, Adam Torocsik, and Jack Pulliam make up the seniors for the Washington squad. They will need to utilize their experience to help lead this young team.

Davis has been a four-year starter, with 41 dual singles wins during his career. The 2020 ITA Region Arthur Ashe and Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship and Leadership award winner is sure to have many more big points on his racquet this season. Pulliam and Torocsik each won seven dual matches one year ago, and will be sure to contribute in some way this winter and spring.
"I want each guy to maximize their role," said Anger. "If you are a veteran guy in the line-up, it is about showing you are able to handle it. If you are a veteran guy not in the lineup, it is about working with the other guys, trying to support the team and make us as good as possible. So, wherever they are, I am still looking for the older guys to be leaders."

Clement Chidekh's stellar fall included 11 wins, five against ranked opponents.

The most notable of the juniors for the Dawgs is Clement Chidekh, who is ranked No. 3 in the National Singles Poll. Chidekh's fall season was as good as any in Husky history, as he became the first UW player to reach the semifinals of both fall national tournaments in the same year. An All-Pac-12 First Teamer last spring, Chidekh will work this season to chase All-America honors and lead this Washington team.
"In the fall, there were guys who did really well, I think the whole country knows about Clement now," said Anger. "One of the neat things is seeing how much he has improved. Some might think, he is playing at that level, so he is just at that level, but he is improving and has worked to get here and continues to work to get to another level and beyond."
Another junior, Ewen Lumsden, enjoyed his best season in 2021, moving up to the No. 2 singles spot behind Chidekh, and earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Kailuhia Lam and Nikit Reddy round out the junior class. 
"A key for us this season is for everyone to play out their role the best they can," said Anger. "Whether you are on the court in singles, or off of the court, or competing in doubles, everybody has to take on that role and do it at a championship level."

Han-Chih Lin had a 12-10 freshman season, playing mostly at No. 4.

Han-Chih "Hans" Lin and Brandon Wong are the sophomores on the roster. Wong missed all of 2020-21 but returned to doubles play in the fall and went 5-3. Lin is coming off a very promising freshman year where he played mostly at No. 4 singles and put together a 12-10 singles record. 
"Brandon [Wong] is playing some really good doubles," said Anger. "There are days I would love to have him in both singles and doubles but coming back from his injuries of a year ago, cutting down the workload is working well, and I want to keep that going."

"I think Hans is serving better and he's coming in a little better to take advantage of how well he hits the ball from the baseline," Anger said. "Against good players, even though you can hit the thing 110-miles-per-hour to the corner, guys are going to make you play another ball. To be able to come in and finish off the point and not have to start over again is a big area he's improving."

Nedim Suko had a busy first fall, going 8-5 in singles.

Coach Anger is especially excited about the new additions to the team this year. The freshman include, Jacob Sleight, Nedim Suko, Rikuto Yamaguchi, and winter quarter addition Cesar Bouchelaghem. This stacked freshman class will bring a spark for the Dawgs this season.
"Rikuto Yamaguchi has improved over the fall," said Anger. "I think he is playing some of his best tennis right now. I think he is going to fit in nicely. He is young but has a really bright future."
Suko out of Kirkland, Washington, although a freshman, has proved he is ready to compete at the collegiate level with a strong fall. Said Anger: "Nedim is eager for college tennis and competes really well."
Bouchelaghem has also come into this team ready to go off the bat. At only 17, his road to Washington wasn't the most conventional, but has proved that his game isn't young, and he could be a contender straight away.
"Maybe the most noticeable were our freshman who came in," Anger said. "This was definitely a step up since we did not lose many players from last year."
Overall, this team has a mix of solid veterans who can lead the Huskies, and fresh new talent coming in that will create a competitive and exciting season to come. 
"I think our guys are progressing to the point where we can compete against these top teams," said Anger. "I want to get started here though; I want to get to the point where we have matches under our belt. We have three freshmen here who are going to be a part of what we are doing, so I'd like to get them some quick experience."