Men’s tennis optimistic for road ahead

In many ways, the fall season is the start of new beginnings for DePaul men’s tennis after a disappointing end to the second half of last year. The Blue Demons suffered a 4-0 loss to the University of South Florida in the Big East Conference Championship to cap off an 11-15 campaign.

Matt Brothers is entering his sixth season as head coach of the men’s squad and remains optimistic for what is in store for the team this year. 

“We didn’t finish where we wanted to be last year so I’ve moved on past that,” said Brothers.

“We have more new guys on team than old this year. It’s a talented group and I’m excited to start working with them and see what we’re capable of.”

This season’s roster includes three familiar names – senior Mathias Hambach, junior Filip Dzanko and sophomore Adam Reinhart. Rounding out the other four spots are freshmen recruits Jan-Willem Feilzer, Paul John, Kyle Johnson and Sten Leusink.

According to Brothers, the fall season is about preparing his players for the competitive head-to-head matches coming up in the spring.

A promising addition to the team is Leusink, hailing from Lijnden, Netherlands, where he was ranked No. 92 in men’s singles. Leusink, who began playing tennis at the age of six, is not sure what to expect for this season but feels a great sense of teamwork and positive reinforcement from the rest of the squad during their rigorous six-day practice schedule.

“The team is like a big family. Everybody is working hard and motivating each other,” said Leusink. “It’s easier to give a little of bit extra in a hard workout when everyone is there helping you through it.”

Team camaraderie is essential during preparation because the Blue Demons have a tough schedule ahead of them. On the docket are tournaments across the country, including stops at Purdue, Baylor, Northwestern and Oregon.

“We’re trying to get guys exposure to different parts of the country,” said Brothers. “We’re primarily an international team, so we like to travel around a bit and see different things. We’re travelling out west this year a few times, Oregon and Arizona, for some good matches out there.”

The Blue Demons also face challenges in Tennessee and Texas.

“It’s a lot of tennis,” Brothers admitted.

That’s exactly what he believes the team needs in order to compete at a high level for both the fall and spring season. After earning a No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament last year, the Blue Demons have their sights set on improving and potentially bringing home a conference title.