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Five matches to circle for the 2023-24 Kentucky men’s tennis season

Sydney Yonker
Kentucky senior Joshua Lapadat hits the ball during the Kentucky vs Notre Dame mens tennis match on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

Kentucky men’s tennis kicked off the 2024 portion of its 2023-24 season in mid January, winning over Northern and Eastern Kentucky to begin a campaign to defend its SEC championship from a season ago.

Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, Kentucky faces a difficult schedule loaded with talented teams.

While the Cats have already suffered one loss, versus Alabama in the ITA Kickoff Weekend, the first major challenge on the Wildcats’ schedule is a matchup with in-state rival Louisville on Feb. 2.

The Cats defeated the Cards in a close one last year when Charlelie Cosnet clinched the 4-3 win in the last singles match.

Just two days after taking on Louisville, the Wildcats will stay at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center to take on defending back-to-back National Champions in the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers ended Kentucky’s tournament run last season in the quarterfinals – just one year after also swapping the Cats in the National Championship – and the Wildcats will certainly have this one circled on the schedule with revenge in mind.

Also in the month of February, Kentucky will travel to Durham, North Carolina, to take on the Duke Blue Devils, led by Garrett Johns, who had 20 singles wins last season.

Following ITA fall nationals in February, the Wildcats will begin their 12 match SEC schedule, a strong tennis conference that saw eight teams finish inside the top 25 last year.

In that stretch Kentucky will take on the Georgia Bulldogs at home in a rematch of the 2023 SEC Championship match where the Cats won a 4-3 thriller.

The Bulldogs will be without their star player from a season ago in ITA Rookie of the Year Ethan Quinn, who turned professional after the season.

In their last match of the regular season, the Wildcats will take on Tennessee in the border battle, a match that swung the Volunteers’ way last season.

The Wildcats were swept by the Volunteers 4-0 in the regular season but managed to even the score after getting revenge in the semifinals of the SEC tournament.

The 2024 season marks the first without former National Player of the Year and Kentucky tennis star Liam Draxl, leading to loads of young talent on the court for the Cats this season.

Six of the ten athletes on the roster this season are underclassmen, with three of them being freshman.

Thankfully for the Cats, two young players have already seen plenty of playing time in Blue and White with Cosnet, who won 12 singles matches last season, and Jaden Weekes, who clinched the SEC championship.

Only time will tell if the 2023-24 Kentucky men’s tennis team will continue to build off its historic 2023 season, but a 4-1 start shows promise.

Kentucky will face the Louisville Cardinals in the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. ET. The Cats are ranked No. 16 in the country.

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