The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Men’s Tennis: Setting the new standard

With a new head coach in Scott Brown, Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis has four new faces that will look to contribute to a better record than last year’s 10-18 finish.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis prepares for its upcoming tournament, the Orange and Blue Classic, taking place from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Last year, Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis ended on a bitter note, as the team lost to Liberty University in the finals of the inaugural Universal NIT, finishing with a middling 10-18 total record overall. However, the team has grander aspirations for this season, made clear by one obvious switch-up: new head coach Scott Brown.

Brown has some big credentials to his name as the assistant head coach of Virginia since 2019. Under his watch in that position, the Cavaliers won back-to-back NCAA championships in 2022 and 2023, making him a prime candidate for any team ready for a tournament push. So, the only question left is whether Vanderbilt Men’s Tennis is ready for that push.

While Vanderbilt as a team wasn’t invited to the NCAA tournament last season, doubles pair Jeremie Casabon and Siim Troost did make the tournament, ranked 18th in the ITA national rankings at the time. However, they didn’t make it past the round of 32, and Troost, now graduated, is no longer on the team, but between sending a doubles pair to the 2023 NCAA tournament and finishing runner-up in the NIT, Vanderbilt has some postseason experience to build on.

Brown has a lot of postseason experience of his own, both from his time with Virginia as well as his 2003 NCAA finals runner-up run on that year’s incredible Vanderbilt team. However, before Vanderbilt makes any NCAA postseason runs, they’re going to need to win in-season matches. Brown has a lot of experience with this too, and luckily, Vanderbilt will be spending their first weekend of play at a familiar location for the head coach — the squad will play in Virginia’s own Orange and Blue Classic.

Following the event in Charlottesville, Va., the Commodores will have a smattering of individual and team tournaments to help them prepare for a defining spring for Brown’s new program. Those preparatory contests include the Southern Intercollegiate tournament in Athens, Ga., the Bobby Bayliss Invitational in South Bend, Ind., and of course, the Black & Gold Invitational hosted by Vanderbilt itself. 

Looking at the Commodore squad more closely, the team has a lot to be excited about with all the new talent and experience it gained this offseason thanks to Brown. Fifth-year Frenchman Alex Hillhouse, fifth-year Spanishman Juan Lopez, fifth-year Englishman Callum Rendle and freshman Englishman Oscar Jensen all join a roster that only lost three players due to graduation in Marcus Ferreira, Macsen Sisam and Siim Troost. Admittedly, these were some of Vanderbilt’s strongest athletes, but the injection of new faces into the program spells promise and hope for a unit that ultimately finished with a 10-18 record after its postseason run.

Though the spring schedule has yet to be finalized, it’ll be imperative for the team to establish a winning culture this fall and set high standards for the spring. A successful season for the team would be making the NCAA Tournament, and if not that, improving on last year’s record and winning the NIT this time around would also be steps in the right direction for the new head coach. 

In the long run, it seems Brown is the right candidate for the job — a Vanderbilt alum with pedigree at both the playing and coaching levels, but there’s theory and there’s reality. As the program hopes to translate their strong aspirations into actions, they must set a positive tone early. This all starts with the Orange and Blue Classic coming up this weekend from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24.

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About the Contributors
Noah Sosinsky
Noah Sosinsky, Staff Writer
Noah Sosinsky (‘27) is majoring in public policy and mathematics and minoring in data science in the College of Arts and Science. He's a big fan of Vanderbilt sports, and can be caught in the front row of the student section at almost every basketball game. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sam Curtis
Sam Curtis, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Sam Curtis (’24) is from Wallingford, Conn., majoring in human and organizational development and French and minoring in data science in Peabody College. He was previously Assistant Sports Editor and Sports Copy Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, he cheers on the Philadelphia Eagles, the 76ers and Leeds United. Outside of sports, he enjoys traveling and learning about history and philosophy. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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