Illinois men’s tennis looks to keep unbeaten home record with weekend doubleheader

By Martin O'Connor, Staff Writer

Illinois men’s tennis has had a very back-and-forth spring season so far, holding an impressive home undefeated streak, but at the same time winless on the road. With Central Florida and Notre Dame coming to Atkins Tennis Center this weekend, the Illini will look to keep their streak going and bounce back from their two losses last weekend.

Already 10 games into the season, Illinois finds itself in the middle of its spring season, which can be a huge make-or-break time for those competing. It is reasonable to say the goal on any competitor’s mind at this point would be to stay healthy and finish the season strong. That mentality is no different with Illinois.

Junior Alex Petrov has seen limited play this season due to injury, having appeared in just one match thus far. However, he doesn’t let this keep him down and has been working hard to be ready for when he comes back.

“Some guys are dealing with some injuries, myself included, but it’s a work in progress and I think we’re learning,” Petrov said.

Playing at home, no matter what sport, always provides some home-court advantages. One thing that Illinois loves about playing at home is the great support it receives from the home crowd. Being undefeated at home certainly shows that the support they receive is beneficial for both parties. The Illini enjoy and appreciate the support they get and the fans get to experience their home team get a win.

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    “We have good support, I’ve always said I think the Illini are supportive a lot,” Petrov said. “We have a good fan base. I feel very comfortable playing at home, I’m sure a lot of the other guys feel super comfortable playing at home.”

    Between its great home record and the need to bounce back from last weekend’s losses, Illinois has a lot riding on its upcoming games. The match against Central Florida will be their student appreciation night and against Notre Dame it will be an Orange Out for fans attending, hopefully meaning a good crowd should come and support. Fans will have their fingers crossed that it’s an action-packed weekend that ends with the Illini picking up 2 more wins on the season.

    While wins are always the priority, the Illini’s undefeated record at home is certainly something on their mind, adding an extra element for them to fight for.

    “If we can go 6-0 at home that’d be awesome,” said Petrov. “But absolutely that’s one of our goals.”

    Illinois men’s tennis will play Central Florida on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by Notre Dame at 6 p.m. on Saturday.


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