2-3-17 Men's Tennis

LSU freshman Rafael Wagner returns the ball during the Tigers' 3-4 loss to Santa Clara at the LSU Tennis Complex on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.

After a tough loss against South Carolina just a few hours earlier, LSU (10-5) bounced back with a clean 4-0 sweep against Nicholls State (4-4). The Tigers desperately needed a win to get back on track, and they did so with efficient play across the board. 

The Tigers had a rough start to March, beginning 0-3 and having their record plummet from 9-2 to 9-5. Each team in the SEC is a challenge, and Coach Chris Brandi is aware that the Tigers need to step their game up.  

“We’ve just got to come out and compete every match,” said Coach Brandi. “It’s the hardest conference in the country in tennis, and there are no easy matches no matter who you play.” 

Even though the Tigers lost earlier in the day, they still had work to do. Rather than overlooking an easier opponent, the Tigers came out dominant and swiftly handled the Colonels.  

Malik Bhatnagar and Rafael Wagner both had bounce-back singles victories after suffering tough losses at the hands of South Carolina.

Bhatnagar won his sets 6-1 and 6-4, and after a slow start, Wagner finished his match strong, with scores of 6-4 and 6-0. Wagner feels that he and the team have had some tough matches and are ready to turn those tougher matches into wins. 

“We’re just taking it one match at a time,” said Wagner. “We know how hard it is to be in the SEC. Each match, you’re going to have to compete, but we’re ready for it.”  

Coach Brandi was proud of the team’s bounce-back performance.  

“It’s tough to bounce back after a rough match earlier,” said Brandi. “The guys went out there, took care of business, and worked on things they needed to improve on.” 

The Tigers have shown signs of serious potential over the past few weeks, with strong doubles play and flashes of great singles play. There is still room to improve, but Coach Brandi believes that the team will reach its potential and begin to pick up key wins.  

“As long as we come out prepared and compete hard, we’re going to start knocking down a few wins here, and we know that,” said Brandi. 

The Tigers will face off against Memphis at home on Wednesday. Brandi looks for the team to show more of what they can do against the Tigers, as the team prepares for more SEC matchups.  


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