Men’s tennis to face No. 10 Duke and No. 18 Tennesse over weekend

Illinois men’s tennis head coach Brad Dancer knows his players haven’t had much of a break since their last match.

“It’s time to see what kind of endurance and heart our guys have,” Dancer said.

After a difficult weekend at the ITA Kick-Off, the Illini will continue their spring season this weekend with matches against No. 10 Duke on Friday and No. 18 Tennessee on Sunday. Both matches are away and will involve significant travel.

“Duke and Tennessee will be big challenges for us and we will see if we are ready for that,” Dancer said. “The team hasn’t had much of a break, so this will be quite the test for all of us.”

Last weekend, the No. 19 Illini (4-1) took a tough loss against North Carolina but were able to bounce back and grab a close 4-3 win over Georgia Tech. Senior Dennis Nevolo earned his second-straight victory over a nationally ranked opponent Monday with a convincing straight-set win to clinch the victory for the Illini. His performance also earned him his second Big Ten Athlete of the Week award.

“Last weekend we may have struggled a bit, especially coming into Sunday, but a few of the guys really turned things around and picked up some valuable experience last weekend,” Nevolo said.

“Now we know what we have to do and what to expect. It’s only going to get better.”

This marks Nevolo’s seventh career weekly accolade and his second of the season. Junior Roy Kalmanovich was Illinois’ last recipient of the award, which he received Oct. 6.

Freshmen Tim Kopinski and Farris Gosea also hope their successes from last weekend continue. Kopinski enters this weekend 4-0 in singles, while Gosea is 3-1.