Men’s tennis shines at Penn Invitational

Men’s tennis kicked off its season with an impressive performance at the Penn Invitational this weekend, winning a majority of its singles and doubles matches on all three days of the tournament.

by Maia Stewart | 9/26/22 1:00am

Source: Courtesy of Raleigh Grossbaum

Last weekend, the men’s tennis team traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the Penn Invitational. From multiple wins from freshman players along with the guidance of experienced members, Dartmouth set the bar high in the first tournament of its fall season. 

On Friday, Sept. 16, the Big Green hit the ground running with five singles wins under its belt after day one. Waleed Qadir ’26, Henry Ren ’26 and Miles Groom ’26 all played the first singles matches of their college careers and emerged victorious against each of their opponents. 

Additionally, Carlos Guerrero Alvarez ’25 and Daniel Webb ’25 clinched Friday’s next two singles wins, beating opponents from Princeton University and Drexel University, respectively. The team ended the day sweeping all four doubles matches, each one with a score of 8-6. 

According to head coach Xander Centenari ’13, the Big Green’s success on day one was a testament to the team’s preparation and effort prior to the tournament. Centenari commented on the importance of efficient practice and team culture in the time leading up to match weekends. 

“A big part of the success this weekend came down to some pretty key moments in matches, and our guys are already exhibiting some toughness as a result of both the work we’re doing but also the support that they have for each other,” Centenari said.

On day two of the invitational, the team continued to build on its momentum by clinching four more singles victories. One of the games included Guerrero Alvarez’s win against the University of Pennsylvania’s Edoardo Graziani —  last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year. 

Logan Chang ’24 battled Drexel opponent Kael Shah to eventually take the win. Finishing the first set against Shah in a tiebreaker, Chang quickly closed out the match with a final score of 7-6(6), 6-1. Chang said his success is rooted in his trained composure and confidence. 

“I did a really good job of raising my energy, and once I was able to raise my energy, I was able to settle my nerves,” Chang said. “I think the other guy started to sense there was a shift in the momentum, and he started to get a little nervous as well.”

Qadir also had a strong match on day two, in which he was able to beat a sophomore from Penn. In his first tournament of his collegiate career, Qadir was able to pull off his second singles win of the weekend. With four years ahead of him, Qadir relayed his excitement about being a part of the Big Green. 

“Being on a team, even in an individual sport like tennis, it’s pretty cool because you can support each other when you’re playing,” Qadir said. “I’m really looking forward to the camaraderie with the team.”

Experienced players on men’s tennis, such as Chang, have taken on a mentorship role to help exemplify what it means to be a Big Green tennis player, he said. . 

“For the upperclassmen it’s important to make sure that all the underclassmen are on board with what it means to be on the Dartmouth tennis team and as students and members of the Dartmouth community,” Chang said. “It's really refreshing to have a new team that we can mold and grow.” 

Additionally, Alex Knox-Jones ’25 emphasized the importance of sportsmanship and focus on the court, which he hopes to continue to pass on to the freshman this fall. 

“Trying to act well on the court and showing [the freshman] how we compete and how we will go into the season [is crucial] so that they can get it as early as possible,” Knox-Jones said. “Then they don’t have to focus on all the external stuff that goes on when you play a college match.” 

The team closed out the weekend with four more wins in singles and a doubles court win by Groom and Guerrero Alvarez. 

“We’re continuing to prove to ourselves that we do things in a certain way, that we compete hard, that we play fair, that we’re respectful and that we represent Dartmouth well,” Centenari said.  

The Big Green will travel to Army West Point in New York on Friday, Oct. 7 to play in Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals.

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