Men’s tennis returns home to face Rice, No. 11 Illinois


TCU looks to get their home record back on track with a back-to-back weekend against the Rice Owls and Illinois Fighting Illini. Photo by Jack Wallace

By Jack Wallace

Following a successful ITA National Indoor tennis tournament and a 4-3 win over No. 30 Tulane, TCU men’s tennis will return to Fort Worth for a battle against the Rice Owls and No. 11 Illinois this weekend.

Not a Hoot from the Owls

Rice has had a quiet start to their season, standing at a 7-6 record. They began the season with a 6-1 start but have gone 1-5 since.

Sophomore Sumit Sarkar will look to get a huge upset over No. 6 Alex Rybakov at the No. 1 singles position this Saturday. Photo courtesy of

The Owls have two common opponents with TCU (UT-Arlington, Texas Tech), beating UTA 5-2 and falling to Texas Tech 2-4.

The top player to watch for the Owls is sophomore Sumit Sarkar at the No. 1 singles position. No Rice players are nationally ranked, but Sakar has made some noise, finishing second-team All Conference-USA in singles and first-team All Conference-USA in doubles last season.

Fighting Illini vs Everyone

The Fighting Illini had a tough start to the season, already facing six top-15 opponents in their first eight matches.

Through this treacherous path, the Fighting Illini have lived up to their namesake, posting a 5-3 record including wins over No. 19 Tulane, No. 11 Notre Dame and No. 7 UCLA, a team both TCU and Illinois have defeated this season.

No. 9 Aleksandar Kovacevic will need to have another strong performance to lead the Fighting Illini to an upset win over TCU this Sunday. Photo courtesy of The News-Gazette

Their losses were against No. 8 North Carolina, No. 6 Texas and No. 4 Florida. TCU shares losses by both UNC and Florida this season and will play Texas this April.

Their top player to watch is nationally-ranked No. 9 Aleksandar Kovacevic, a junior. He boasts a 18-3 singles record in the 2018-19 season and is the highest-ranked Illini, the No. 9 ranking the highest of his career.

Match Times:

The Rice match will begin at 1:30 p.m Saturday, and the Illinois match begins at noon Sunday .