DURHAM, N.C. – After being delayed a week due to Hurricane Florence, the Duke men’s tennis team is set to begin its 2018 fall season Friday at the Gamecock Fall Invite in Columbia, S.C. The event will run through Sunday.
This year’s squad loses just one letterwinner from last spring and brings back seven. Led by head coach Ramsey Smith, who is entering his 11th season at the helm, Duke welcomes back seniors Ryan Dickerson, Jason Lapidus and Catalin Mateas, juniors Spencer Furman, Robert Levine and Nick Stachowiak and sophomore Sean Sculley. Freshman Robert Maciag, from Sterling, Va., is the lone new addition to the squad.
“This is our first tournament of the fall,” Smith said. “The guys have been working extremely hard. I’m looking forward to giving them an opportunity to compete this weekend and work on the things we’ve been trying to improve upon. I think we’ve been very efficient and productive starting with day one. We have pushed the guys really hard and put in a lot of work. I’m very pleased with how things have gone so far.”
Three Blue Devils will take part in the Gamecock Fall Invite this weekend with Lapidus, Levine and Maciag. Lapidus and Levine will play doubles together while Maciag will participate only in singles.
“Overall Robert has done a good job,” Smith said of his freshman Maciag. “He came in day one on the first day of class and won the team mile and the bonus competition right after that. He really set the tone of arriving in great shape. He has been working hard. I’m excited to watch him play. He’s a great competitor. He’s eager to get out there and compete with the Duke D on his chest.”
Last week, the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason rankings came out with Mateas checking in at No. 73 in the singles ledger while Stachowiak is No. 87. The pair is No. 46 in the doubles rankings.
Last spring, Duke made its second consecutive NCAA Team Championship appearance. The Blue Devils finished with a 16-14 overall record and played to a 6-6 ACC ledger.
Stachowiak was named the team’s 2018 Charles Hamilton Hargrave Most Valuable Player after leading the Blue Devils in singles (25) victories and adding 17 doubles triumphs.