Clemson Tiger tennis

chic

Hall of Fame
Way out of the top 75 (below 100 on the college tennis ranks projections) now largely thanks to the bad schedule. I didn’t like the look of it when it was released and seems like I was right.

Wissam got into the singles rankings at 75. Puts him within striking distance of the individual tournament.

Only so much you can say after “moral victories” so I am instituting a self-imposed boycott on this thread until they actually get a solid win. (Boston college and college of Charleston don’t count.)
Not to drag you back in, but was schedule established before coaching selection? I don't remember how that timed out.
 

andfor

Legend
Not to drag you back in, but was schedule established before coaching selection? I don't remember how that timed out.
I'll defer to @Clemson_tennis but most of the schedules are firmed up in the fall. Sure there may have been a handful of matches scheduled by the previous coach, but my experience is that can all change up and through late fall.
 
Last edited:
Not to drag you back in, but was schedule established before coaching selection? I don't remember how that timed out.
It was released just one month before the season but no telling when each match was scheduled. Some cases it’s years ago with home and away agreements, like how we hosted northwestern last year and went there this year (which I assume means MSU will come to Clemson next year.) but most cases it’s made just before in the fall.

Playing a few of those 50-90 range mid-major teams is the sweet spot to inflate the ranking. Like Charlotte, Georgia State etc. problem is, everyone else wants to play them to.

This year it’s a bit of bad luck that Brown and Georgia Southern are so bad because they were supposed to be those type of matches. Playing SMU was a good match. But a lot of throwaway matches against teams that will never be ranked high enough to get any points, also I didn’t care for the ITA kickoff choice.

Ultimately you have to win vs good teams as @andfor mentioned before. But there are ways to game the system to get into the 50s or 60s rather than be unranked.
 
Unlock the thread! Clemson beats down Miami 4-0. This was an absolute must win match and Clemson showed up for it. Miami absolutely did not show up. And this was with Miami bringing back Serra-Sanchez from injury

Clemson dominated the doubles point and got three easy singles wins. Aronson won at #5, 6-4 6-0, Azuma won at #2, 6-3 6-1 and Mesarovic won at #3, 6-3 6-2.
Vukadin was on his way to a straight set win as well and Abderrahman had taken the lead in the 3rd set after bageling Katz in the 2nd set as he dropped the 1st. So would have been 7-0 or 6-1.

Finally have another ranking win to go along with the win over SMU. Also Georgia Southern is now #65, so that win gains strength.
 

silentkman

Hall of Fame
Unlock the thread! Clemson beats down Miami 4-0. This was an absolute must win match and Clemson showed up for it. Miami absolutely did not show up. And this was with Miami bringing back Serra-Sanchez from injury

Clemson dominated the doubles point and got three easy singles wins. Aronson won at #5, 6-4 6-0, Azuma won at #2, 6-3 6-1 and Mesarovic won at #3, 6-3 6-2.
Vukadin was on his way to a straight set win as well and Abderrahman had taken the lead in the 3rd set after bageling Katz in the 2nd set as he dropped the 1st. So would have been 7-0 or 6-1.

Finally have another ranking win to go along with the win over SMU. Also Georgia Southern is now #65, so that win gains strength.
Clemson is on a roll in another sport too.
 

silentkman

Hall of Fame
Oh yes. 2nd ever elite 8 (1st one was way back in 1980.) Super cool environment around downtown Clemson last night with people wtching the win. This is turning into a special year overall for Clemson sports with the men’s soccer national title, baseball ranked top 5 right now, women’s soccer final four etc.
Congratulations and enjoy the moment. Ironically, former blueblood (UNC) didn't make and Duke got lucky.
 
Alright so four matches left in the year and the team is now at #60 in the rankings. Abderrahman at #80 in singles and Azuma is #108. Smith/Vukadin at #69 in doubles.

@ #54 Notre Dame
@ #42 Louisville
#2 Virginia
#58 Virginia Tech

If the team can win 3 out of the final 4 they will creep up to close to #45 in the rankings and be near the ncaa tournament bubble and would probably need one ACC tourney win to get in.

Notre Dame and VT are winnable, with VT at home being a should win. Louisville will be tougher as they beat us 6-1 earlier in the season (without Vukadin in the lineup though.)

I would also like to see Abderrahman get at least one more nice ranking win to possibly get him into the ncaa individuals. It’ll be interesting to see if he stays at #1 for these four matches as he has been the last few matches.
 

Sureshot

Hall of Fame
Alright so four matches left in the year and the team is now at #60 in the rankings. Abderrahman at #80 in singles and Azuma is #108. Smith/Vukadin at #69 in doubles.

@ #54 Notre Dame
@ #42 Louisville
#2 Virginia
#58 Virginia Tech

If the team can win 3 out of the final 4 they will creep up to close to #45 in the rankings and be near the ncaa tournament bubble and would probably need one ACC tourney win to get in.

Notre Dame and VT are winnable, with VT at home being a should win. Louisville will be tougher as they beat us 6-1 earlier in the season (without Vukadin in the lineup though.)

I would also like to see Abderrahman get at least one more nice ranking win to possibly get him into the ncaa individuals. It’ll be interesting to see if he stays at #1 for these four matches as he has been the last few matches.
With you there. Louisville will be the key. I’d disregard the earlier result because Clemson has been playing a lot better of late.
 
Worst performance of the year yesterday at Notre Dame. Right up there with the Northwestern match. Tournament hopes gone.

Now just hope the ranking can stay in the top 64 to end the year to qualify for next year's indoor kickoff weekend. Not holding out any hope for the Louisville match or the ACC tourney. Just beat VT at home to end the season.

Side note about this season. It's been a fairly... boring one? Like as far as the matches themselves. There has been only one match all year that has legitimately come down to the wire, which was the Duke match. Each of the others have had little drama without many twists or turns.
 
Last edited:
And they respond to the worst performance of the year with the best! 4-0 domination at Louisville to spoil their senior day.

Damm and Abderrahman dominated their doubles court again and this time Smith/Vukadin were able to finish off their court for the doubles point clincher.

Tigers took the 1st set on ALL 6 courts including Abderrahman 11-9 tiebreaker on 2.

Singles wins:
3: Vukadin def Fung 6-3 6-0
4: Mesarovic def Steinbach 6-4 6-3
6: Smith def Nakanishi 7-5 6-2

Unfinished:
1: Azuma led Donnet 7-5 3-6 2-1
2: Abderrahman led Rodrigues 7-6(9) 2-4
5: Pitts led Mayew 7-5 4-6 2-1

- Could have been a 7-0 result if played out.

- What a weekend for Vukadin who won 6-1 6-0 vs ND and 6-3 6-0 today.

- Smith was the MVP today. Coming in at #6 for his first singles action in months after Aronson was taken out of the lineup and got the big clinch at 6 after also clinching the doubles point.
 
Last edited:
So looks like the NCAA tournament cut line is around 50 right now, which is a lot lower than usual meaning that Clemson was actually closer to the tournament that I thought. If they had beaten ND, they could have been around 48 in the rankings and in the dance.

At 56 now. Alabama State has been added to the schedule before the Virginia match on Thursday which is actually not just a throwaway record boosting match because BamaSt was in the top 75 a few weeks ago and will rate higher than several other wins Clemson has had this year. At 11-12, must beat Alabama State and VT (assuming UVA loss) to finish at 13-13. VT is ranked 61 so beating them probably won't lift the ranking enough to get higher than #50.

Will need a win the ACC tourney to have a shot to get in the NCAAs. And likely would need to beat a team ranked higher, like a rematch vs Louisville or Georgia Tech to give enough boost to the ranking. So there is a chance going into the final two weeks, which is more than I could say in previous seasons.
 

jcgatennismom

Hall of Fame
So looks like the NCAA tournament cut line is around 50 right now, which is a lot lower than usual meaning that Clemson was actually closer to the tournament that I thought. If they had beaten ND, they could have been around 48 in the rankings and in the dance.

At 56 now. Alabama State has been added to the schedule before the Virginia match on Thursday which is actually not just a throwaway record boosting match because BamaSt was in the top 75 a few weeks ago and will rate higher than several other wins Clemson has had this year. At 11-12, must beat Alabama State and VT (assuming UVA loss) to finish at 13-13. VT is ranked 61 so beating them probably won't lift the ranking enough to get higher than #50.

Will need a win the ACC tourney to have a shot to get in the NCAAs. And likely would need to beat a team ranked higher, like a rematch vs Louisville or Georgia Tech to give enough boost to the ranking. So there is a chance going into the final two weeks, which is more than I could say in previous seasons.
Is the cut line higher due to less automatic bids due to realigned and consolidated conferences? Conf USA is only 4 teams so MTSU will have to get at large bid-they used to be top 20 team-now mid 30s?
 
Yes there are currently 8 non-power five conference leaders inside the top 50 this year. Teams that would usually be ranked lower overall. Teams like Denver, FAU, Pacific who just zoomed up thanks to their win over USD, Liberty, VCU, UCSB. It's actually cool to see more conferences doing better.
 
With the VT match starting now I forgot to mention the UVA match.

Great 6-2 6-2 win for Mesarovic over Dahlberg and also nice for Max Smith to beat Hopper in straights.

Doubles was tight and Azuma led 5-3 in the first set tiebreak before Rodesch pulled it out 7-5.

Virginia is like the UConn of men’s tennis right now, so only losing 5-2 is not bad at all.
 
5-2 win over VT to close out the regular season.

Azuma with a dominant 6-4 6-0 win over Fishback on his senior day, the second time he has routed Fishback. I'll look at this more after the year is totally over but an arguemnt could be made that Azuma has been the best player to play at Clemson since Hunter Harrington left 8 years ago.

I am liking what I am seeing from Mesarovic and Vukadin to close the season. Both hitting their stride late after they each had lulls in the middle part of the season. They rolled in singles again today. Vukadin closes the regular season winning 4 out of the last 5 with all wins in straight sets and Mesarovic won 4 straight to close the year, all in straights.

Aronson got a nice comeback win in his return to the lineup.

Now while the others are hitting form, Abderrahman has hit a bit of a rough patch, going 1-4 (3 straight sets losses) in last seven matches with two abandoned. Funny how he had his in-form streak while Mesarovic and Vukadin were in a rough patch and now it has flipped.

I'll have more on looking ahead to ACC tourney and what this means in quest to make NCAAs later in another post.
 
The Notre Dame match on Thursday is the biggest men’s tennis match for Clemson in probably a decade. It’s basically win and you’re in or lose and you’re out of the NCAAs.

The numbers will be close with a win but the “players & players podcast” says winner is “most likely in.”

Notre Dame won 4-1 only a couple of weeks ago but that was indoors. This will be outdoors and in 80 degree heat. And with lineup swaps at 1/2 and 3/4 from last time, there will only be one repeat singles matchup or maybe even zero.
 
Big effort from Daniella Medvedeva to come back from 1-4 down in the 3rd to win 7-5 and clinch the 4-3 win for the women over BC in the 1st round of the ACC tourney.
 
Down goes Notre Dame!! 4-1.

Smith and Aronson with huge rallies on 5 and 6 to clinch it.

Live scoring was extremely frustrating to follow so it was hard to get a sense of the flow. Still don’t know the scores at 3 and 4 but all we needed was three courts after the doubles point.
 
So actually Vukadin won at 3 and Smith was up 5-2 at #6 when it was abandoned. Mesarovic was at 5-5 in the 3rd.

It sucks to have to play Virginia tomorrow. I think this team would have a shot against Duke, NC State, FSU, UNC or maybe even Wake (would have been a 4-3 result in Winston Salem earlier this year).

It's going to be a tight squeeze for the NCAA tourney. Have to hope nobody behind gets big wins, like Rice or Pacific. Pull for SMU to win the AAC. It would be crushing to miss the tournament by like 1 or 2 spots.
 
Another huge rally from 1-4 down in the 3rd set clincher. This time from Van Zyl on 6. Back to back days from 1-4 down.

That moves the women inside the top 50 as well but they will need to beat NC State to have an ncaa chance with the women’s cut line a lot higher.
 
Crazy how the tourney chances are now determined by analyzing Pacific and Rice’s resume.

Pretty sure Clemson needs Tulsa to beat Rice in the match going on right now or Rice will have too large a boost in points thanks to Charlotte and Tulane pulling upsets in the AAC tourney.
 
Last edited:
Before focusing too much on the bubble situation though, should mention that it was another pretty decent showing vs Virginia. No blowout losses and a ranked straight sets win for Vukadin. Forced it to three sets on 3 courts.
 

andfor

Legend
Not sure of all the scenarios you need to line up today, but guessing first and foremost you need Memphis to win today to stay within the cut line, right?
 
Not sure of all the scenarios you need to line up today, but guessing first and foremost you need Memphis to win today to stay within the cut line, right?
Yes because we can’t have Charlotte steal a bid when they otherwise would not make it without a conference title.

Other things we need to happen today:

- Arizona to take care of business and not allow Oregon a big upset to jump to around 45.

- MTSU to beat Liberty in the CUSA final and not allow a bid steal there

- Pepperdine to beat Pacific to not let Pacific into the mix

- not a need, but would be nice for Georgia Southern to beat Old Dominion in the sun belt final since we have a win over Ga.So while Rice has a win over ODU.
 
Yeah tough after the gutsy win vs Rice yesterday. Tulane beating SMU in R1 was just as hurtful since it boosted Tulane a lot to give everyone in the AAC on the bubble who beat them more points and hurt our best win vs SMU.

If the AAC had held true to form with a SMU/Memphis final, our chances would still be good. Looks like the AAC might get 5 teams in now.

-
Well that's it then for this thread this season. Season recap thoughts and a look ahead to next year to come sometime over the next couple of weeks.
 

Forgot to mention this in here. Recruit for next year from Bulgaria. Apparently Miss State was after him, which I take as a good sign since they are usually pretty clued in to getting good talents from the Balkans area. So taking a player from their usual pipeline sounds like a get for Wagner and Rapp.

A Bulgarian guy who I know from tennis forums, knows Markov and says he has a high ceiling and is up there talent wise. You have to take that stuff with a grain of salt because I’ve def heard it before about many players so it’s a believe it when you see it type of thing. But still, better to have a player who has room to improve rather than one who has reached their limit already.
 
Hoping Clemson can grab one or two of these players in the portal to flesh out the lineup. Maybe one of the mid-major guys who are looking to move up.

Such as Grandinot of Alabama State who took Azuma to 11-9 3rd set decider tiebreak.
 
Last edited:
Is the new coach really any good? The previous coach could have had a similar type of season.

Well Weiss already had Vukadin and Mesarovic coming in yes but Wagner was responsible for getting Abderrahman who was a key #2 player and ended the year ranked 99. Which is the most successful season for a Clemson Freshman in several years. Without him in the lineup, the season would have been far worse. Like Matt Pitts was playing 3 or 4 under Weiss and was #6 for most of this year.

The team was also way more competitive overall in the ACC. Actually pushing some teams as opposed to getting easily beaten every ACC week like in the previous years.

The trajectory is upwards IMO and I expect a more substantial breakthrough next year.
 
Clemson should be a top 25 program year in and year out.
Really should be. The men's and women's programs both posted videos bragging about how good the tennis facilites are yesterday on social media and I'm like ok great where are the results? :-D

It's actually sad how bad the men's program has been over the last 15 years. Compared to other Clemson sports, men's tennis has been the worst program at the school other than women's basketball and maybe volleyball and those programs work with inherent disadvantages which tennis should not have. There is no reason Clemson should be out of the top 50 every year. It has been a snowball effect for the last decade of having a reputation of being a poor program and no top players looking at Clemson as a tennis destination.

It has really been dire since 2014. Terrible ACC records, no individual player in the NCAA's since Hunter Harrington in 2015.

2008-2011 was a down period, which was an understandable one after the end of the Kriese era and it being a transition time with aging facilities. Then came 2012 which was a very close almost year with so many 4-3 heartbreakers to good teams, many of the losses in unbelievable fashion (you can actually relive those in this thread in the early pages. I chronicled many of them as I was the team manager back then). Then 2013 (2013 season also well chronicled here) and 2014, which were two very good seasons where the team spent both seasons in the 17-25 ranking range and lost 4-3 in the NCAA 2nd round at Tennessee (2013) and at Kentucky (2014). Should have won that Kentucky match after Jomby had to retire at #1 in singles.

The real program issues came after that. 2015 should have been another good season with what was returning but it was a poor year and things regressed in 2016-2018 when it should have been building off of the success of 13-14. I don't even really know what happened in those years because I was living out of state/country from 2014-2019 so I did not see as much of that era and what exactly was happening.

The new facilities of 2019 brought optimism which has yet to be realized. It's been a long slog, like I remember them giving out shirts to fans back in like 2018 that literally said "Clemson tennis, building for the future" on them, basically admitting "yeah we suck right now".

Well I'll look at it this way, the next season where we are actually good will be all the more sweeter thanks to the lengthy wait.
 

andfor

Legend

Transfer in. Went 17-5 in the middle of the VCU lineup. Was in the ITA rankings for a bit. Had a couple of ranked wins.

Also becomes the first lefty on this roster.

Looks like he will be an important middle of the lineup piece to bridge the gap between Abderrahman/Vukadin/Mesavoric and Aronson/Pitts.
Saw that. Appears to be a solid addition. Looking to see Clemson back in the NCAA's next year for sure.
 
Saw that. Appears to be a solid addition. Looking to see Clemson back in the NCAA's next year for sure.
Yeah we need to next year. To get some positive momentum going.

Before the season I said #1 was not the issue but I think I’ve changed my mind on that. Over these not so great years, we’ve never really had glaring depth issues, its been the top that has been lacking. Haven’t had an individual player in the ITA top 70 since 2015 and only Alex Favrot and Azuma have spent a decent chunk of time ranked at all.

And this is no slight on Azuma, because he was actually the best #1 since probably Hunter Harrington but even he had an under .500 record in league play and vs higher ranked teams. Hard to get ACC wins when you always have a losing record at #1.

Abderrahman had the best freshman year since… I can’t even remember because Yannick Maden started as a sophomore and Hunter Harrington was #5 as a Freshman. So hoping he can make a jump in Sophomore year and become a top 50 player and hold down #1 well.

That will be a big key to if this can become a tournament team .
 
Top