It’s not hard to find the irony. The No. 9 Stanford men’s tennis team will be hoping the rain stays away this weekend, as it hosts the first round of the Team Indoor Championships today and tomorrow.
Despite the name of the tournament, the first round is in fact played outside at the Taube Family Tennis Center.
“You just have to prepare as if it’s not going to rain,” said sophomore Bradley Klahn. “We’ve been through the rain delay situation before. You just have to prepare to play the match, be ready to wait it out.”
If Mother Nature cooperates, the Cardinal will host UNC-Wilmington at 12 p.m. today and, if it wins, will face the winner of the San Diego State vs. Oklahoma match on Saturday. The forecast calls for scattered showers this afternoon, with the system clearing out by tomorrow morning.
“We’re just thinking of UNC-Wilmington, but if we win we’ll probably play Oklahoma,” said junior Alex Clayton. “They’re well coached and it won’t be an easy match.”
The games are part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Stanford is serving as one of 15 host sites around the nation for the second annual tournament.
The Cardinal is the highest-ranked team in the group. Wilmington is ranked No. 57, San Diego State No. 44 and Oklahoma No. 45. Despite being a low seed in Palo Alto this weekend, Oklahoma brings the biggest name — its head coach is John Roddick, older brother of tennis star Andy Roddick.
If Stanford wins both of its matches, it will advance to the National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 12-15.
Stanford is coming off a dominant victory over Sacramento State on Jan. 23, the team’s first regular season match. The Cardinal had a clean sweep over the overmatched Hornets, winning 7-0.
On the doubles side, the No. 1 duo in the nation, sophomores Klahn and Ryan Thacher, easily won 8-4. Senior Richard Wire and Clayton, the No. 2 team for Stanford, won an astonishing 26 points in a row en route to an 8-1 victory. The one blemish on the match for the Cardinal was the freshman duo of Matt Kandath and Denis Lin, which lost 8-1.
On the singles side, junior Greg Hirshman, playing in the sixth spot, delivered the clinching the point with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. The rest of the singles lineup — Klahn, Clayton, Thacher, Wire and Kandath, in order — is not expected to change, nor is the doubles lineup.
“I know the freshmen struggled a little bit, but they will get better,” Klahn said. “It was the first match of the season and we got a long way to go. If we just keep working and improve each match we will be fine.”
What could benefit the Cardinal the most from the Sacramento State match is not the game play itself, but the rain delay it had to endure. The match was initially scheduled for 1 p.m., but was pushed back to 3 p.m. The teams finished the doubles and as they were starting the singles, the heavens opened up once again, delaying the match another two and a half hours.
Stanford is praying it won’t have to draw on its rain-delay experience, but until it has an indoor facility, it is out of the Cardinal’s control.
The match today is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. If Stanford wins, it will play at 12 p.m. on Saturday, while it will play at 9 a.m. if the Cardinal falls to Wilmington.