The 2023 Ohio State tennis season is officially underway. Both the men and women had great seasons last year, and are looking to get even better in 2023. Here’s your guide to a preview for both teams, and a story to keep your eye on about a former Buckeye currently killing it at the Austrailian Open!
First off, with some of the most exciting news — J.J. Wolf is currently making his best run at a Grand Slam tournament of his career. He was a member of the Ohio State tennis team from 2017-2019, before turning pro after his junior season. Originally from Cincinnati, he earned the No. 1 college ranking in his junior year and amassed a 45-3 record in that same season.
On his way to his first Grand Slam round of 16 appearance, Wolf upset No. 23 Diego Schwartzman in the second round in straight sets. His next match will be against fellow American, 20-year-old Ben Shelton. If he continues to win, he could potentially face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Either way, it’s an incredible run for the 24-year-old.
As for current Buckeyes, the men’s team has started their season undefeated at 4-0, but who is really surprised? They finished No. 2 overall in the nation and were the regular season Big Ten champs last year. The duo of Matej Vocel and Robert Cash also were the runner-ups at the NCAA Doubles Championship.
The Buckeyes as a team ended their season at the national semifinals, and finished another tremendous season at 28-4 overall. They also boasted three All-Americans.
So, looking ahead at the 2023 season, the Buckeyes are once again ranked No. 2 in the nation. Junior JJ Tracy is the star of the show, as he is currently ranked No. 5 in the singles rankings. In doubles, Tracy and Andrew Lutschaunig are ranked No. 2 in the country. The duo won the ITA Fall National Doubles title, becoming the second consecutive Buckeyes team to win the crown.
The women are just as competitive as the men. They finished No. 10 in the nation last year, also winning the regular season conference title. Junior Irina Cantos Siemers received the Big Ten’s automatic qualifier spot in singles and she and freshman Sydni Ratliff earned the conference’s automatic spot in doubles. Senior Isabelle Boulais was an at-large selection to the singles draw.
Cantos Siemers led the Buckeyes with a 33-9 overall record last season before falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as did Ratliff and Boulais. Canto Siemers did however earn Second Team All-American honors, and Ratliff was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and ITA Rookie of the Year for the Midwest Region.
All three of these women are back this year after having solid fall seasons, especially Ratliff, who made it to the Round of 16 at the ITA Fall Nationals. There are three Buckeyes in the ITA singles rankings – No. 15 Ratliff, No. 30 Cantos Siemers and No. 116 Kolie Allen. Cantos and Ratliff are the No. 31-ranked doubles tandem.
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 17 to start the spring season, and already one week in, sophomore Shelly Bereznyak has been named Big Ten Athlete of the Week after picking up five wins at the first invitational of the season. Ohio State has a tough schedule this year and will serve as an ITA Kickoff Weekend site, welcoming Old Dominion, Wake Forest and No. 24 Tennessee next weekend (Jan. 27-28).
If you live in Columbus, I highly recommend going to the Ty Tucker Tennis Center and watching the men and women play. It is an absolutely amazing facility, the teams are so fun to watch and everything is free. If you don’t live in the capital, however, you can also tune into the livestreams, available through ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Maybe LGHL will turn into a tennis site, in addition to women’s basketball?