For the first time in program history, men’s tennis will have No. 1 overall seed in a national tournament, as the duo of senior Will Matheson and sophomore Jack Lin will headline a deep bracket at the ITA Fall National Championships.
The event, stretching from Wednesday to Sunday, brings together the nation’s top 64 singles players of the fall season and the 32 best doubles pairs.
This year, Matheson and Lin will once again be competing in the doubles tournament after accruing valuable experience in the tournament a season ago.
Head coach Bid Goswami is optimistic about Lin and Matheson’s strong play of late.
“Regionals last year was the first time [Lin and Matheson] played together. Now, they’ve competed in more tournaments together and have really developed as a pair,” Goswami said. “What makes them so good is that they don’t do anything crazy, they’re consistent. They make every return. They have a good serve and volley, but most of all they have a really good understanding between them on the double court.”
The pair, ranked No. 8 in the most recent ITA rankings, are coming into the event with a perfect 9-0 doubles record for the fall season. At the ITA Northeast Regionals, Lin and Matheson cruised through five matches, winning against Daniel Soyfer and David Volfson of Cornell in a high-paced 6-0, 6-2 final match. Earlier in the season, the pair triumphed at the Ivy Plus tournament in Princeton, winning 4 consecutive matches, as well as the doubles draw title, winning 6-3 in the final.
Despite their immense success over the fall season, Goswami noted that Lin and Matheson must be at their best coming into the tournament if they plan on reaping different results than last year.
“They can beat anybody if they stay solid, but they also could lose to many good teams. It just matters how they play on the day,” Goswami said.
In singles play, junior Jackie Tang will return to the ITA Fall Nationals once again after he qualified a season ago. Tang is the lone Columbia player that qualified for singles play as last year’s qualifier senior Victor Pham is sitting out the fall season with a right wrist injury, and has yet to return to the court.
Matheson and Lin traveled to Arizona alongside Tang over the weekend to adjust to the thinner air before the competition.
Matheson and Lin’s quest for a national title will begin today at 7 p.m. EST, as they take on Drake’s Vinny Gillespie and Barny Thorold. Meanwhile, Tang will hit the courts today at 3:30 p.m. EST, as he takes on the No. 3 overall seed in South Carolina’s Paul Jubb.
Play will continue through Sunday in Surprise, Arizona. The tournament will be streamed live on ESPN3.