Under the direction of first-year head coach Robbie Weiss, the Clemson men’s tennis team looks to begin a new era as it kicks off its 2020 championship campaign. Last season, the Tigers went 10-17 overall and 2-10 in conference action. Nine tigers return to the roster for the 2019-20 season after competing in a combined 130 singles and 77 doubles matches in 2018-19.
“The much-anticipated Spring season has officially arrived, and I could not be more excited to get started,” stated Coach Weiss. “The team has done a fantastic job preparing themselves throughout the fall for the upcoming team competition. I am extremely proud of them for the improvements they have made and for their commitment to excellence. Playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference is as tough as it gets, but the team is ready to compete and start going toe-to-toe with the best in the country. Leading the Clemson men’s tennis program is an honor and a privilege, and I will continue to give everything I have to this amazing university and program.”
The Tigers will field a young team as six of its 11 athletes hold underclassman status. Of the nine student-athletes returning to the roster this season, three are seniors, one is a junior and five are sophomores. In addition, the program welcomed two walk-ons to the roster, junior Jaxon Wiley and freshman Tim Pitts. Seeing action in six tournaments during the fall schedule, Clemson athletes went a combined 66-45 in singles and 27-23 in doubles.
At the conclusion of the 2019 fall season, Jacob Jahn posted a team-best record of 13-2 in singles while going 7-5 in doubles. In singles, the South Carolina native finished the season on a 6-match win streak, dropping just two sets during that span. The sophomore also earned a singles draw title at the Wake Forest Invitational. During the 2019 spring campaign, Jahn played predominantly in the No. 6 singles position, where he went 6-5 in addition to going 7-10 overall. Jahn paired with senior Pierre-Louis Dodens of Geneva, Switzerland, for doubles last season, where they earned a team-best record of 10-3 at line two.
Dodens, who saw limited action during the fall, maintained a 5-4 record when partnered with Jahn in doubles as well as a 5-2 record in singles. Though the senior competed with Jahn in doubles for the majority of last season, Dodens was also undefeated when he played with sophomore Mike Agee, going 5-0 in the third position and 1-0 at line two. In singles last season, Dodens played a majority of his matches in the No. 5 slot, where he went 5-4.
Senior Carlos Kelaidis also had an impressive fall season after tallying an 11-3 record in singles. Native to Glyfada, Greece, Kelaidis enjoyed a 7-match win streak which spanned nearly an entire month from September to October. In addition, the senior went 5-5 in doubles matches during the fall. Last spring, Kelaidis went 7-15 overall in singles and 3-4 in the No. 4 slot.
Sophomore Teodor Giusca and senior Gabriel Diaz Freire each tallied 8-5 singles marks during the fall season. In doubles, Giusca posted 5-7 marks after utilizing three different partners. Diaz Freire and junior Yizhou Liu had an outstanding fall season as a doubles pair, earning a team-best record of 10-4. Last season, Giusca went 9-13 overall in singles and 11-13 in doubles while Diaz Freire was sidelined most of last season due to injury.
Liu, who hails from Nanjing, China, posted a 10-11 record last season, including a 4-4 mark at line two. In addition to his accomplishments in doubles during the fall, Liu added 5-8 marks in singles play.
From Atlanta, Ga., Agee tallied a 6-9 singles record during the fall and 4-7 combined in doubles. Last season, the sophomore went 4-10 in singles and 6-4 overall in doubles. Sophomore Cole Gordon, who played in only three matches last season, earned a 3-1 record in doubles during the fall season with partner Pitts while also going 1-1 in singles. Pitts, a South Carolina native, went 3-2 in singles and 5-3 in doubles in his first fall of action.
Sophomore Matteo Vialmin, native to Montreux, Switzerland, made four appearances in the fall, posting a 3-1 record in singles. In 2019, Vialmin finished the season 5-4 in singles and 3-2 in doubles. Meanwhile, Wiley, from Asheville, N.C., played to 3-7 marks in singles and a 3-3 record in doubles.
The Tigers face a competitive schedule this spring, matching up with five of the ITA’s top-25 programs in addition to eight NCAA Tournament teams from 2019. Much of Clemson’s strength of schedule comes from conference play as four of their five top-25 opponents hail from the ACC.
Clemson will enjoy an 11-match homestand to start the season and will open the schedule on Jan. 18, when they host Furman and Wofford for the Duckworth Family Classic. During their 11-match home stretch, the Tigers will host No. 16 South Carolina for Palmetto series action on Feb. 14 and host Miami to open ACC action on Feb. 21. Clemson hits the road for the first time in 2020 on Feb. 28, when they head to Georgia Tech. The Tigers are set to close out the regular season at home against Boston College on April 9 and will take part in the ACC Tournament, which begins on April 15 in Rome, Ga.