Fordham Men’s Tennis Prepares for Atlantic 10 Championship in Orlando

Rams will depend on experience and consistency in another potential tournament run

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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS

Alex Makatsaria, FCRH ’21, has been a key part of the men’s tennis team this year, winning seven singles matches in a shortened season.

By KRISTINA STEVANOVIC

The Fordham men’s tennis team wrapped up its regular season this Tuesday with an unfavorable 2-4 loss against Eastern Florida State College. The Rams, which hold a 5-5 overall record, are gearing up to play in the Atlantic 10 (A10) Championship this weekend in Orlando, Florida,  as the sixth seed in the tournament.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of matchups this season, the team’s performance has been consistent and up to the standards of previous years. Since 2016, the Rams have steadily improved, winning at least half of their matches per season. Despite playing only 10 matches this year, the team maintained this average.

The Rams have played well in both singles and doubles throughout the 2020-21 season. They have a 33-18 record in singles matches and a 12-11 record in doubles matchups. The singles lineup is made up of first singles player Fabian Mauritzson, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’21; Max Green, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’21, and Nicholas Kanazirev, FCRH ’24, both of whom alternate for the second and third spots; and Alex Makatsaria, FCRH ’21, who plays third or fourth singles.

This was the first season since 2013-14 that Fordham had advanced past the first round in the tournament.

Despite being featured lower in the lineup, Fordham’s third singles spot has been the most dominant. Makatsaria has clinched over 20% of the team’s singles wins with a 7-2 overall record. In the third spot, Makatsaria has gone 5-1, the best record for any one position on the team. With a 77% win rate in his singles matchups this season, Makatsaria played better than his career average and proved he can play consistently at a higher singles spot than in the past.

Meanwhile, Mauritzson, the team MVP and one-time A10 Player of the Week last year, has not put up the same number of wins at first singles as in the past. In the last two seasons at first singles, Mauritzon went 6-3 last year and 8-8 in the 2018-19 season, which is significantly stronger compared to the 3-6 record during the 2020-21 campaign. A return to his past form will certainly be crucial for the Rams going into the tournament.

Fabian Mauritzson, GSBRH ’21, has led the Rams as first singles player for three years. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

The singles wins for Fordham this season would be incomplete without efforts from Lutwin de Macar, GSBRH ’21; Tom Russwurm, GSBRH ’22; and Jofre Segarra, GSBRH ’22, who rotate between the fourth, fifth and sixth singles spots. Although these three typically round out the bottom of the rotation, combined, they have secured about 45% of the team’s singles wins, making them an essential part of the team’s overall success.   

The Rams also possess a favorable doubles record this season. Russwurm and Segarra carry their singles success over, making up the most effective doubles team with a 3-2 record. Russwurm has the best doubles record on the team, showing his versatility with a 5-3 record for the season.

Fordham has fallen to five opponents during the season: Quinnipiac (3-4), Temple (1-6), St. John’s (0-4), Concordia (2-5) and, most recently, Eastern Florida State College (2-4). In these matches, the team was especially vulnerable at the first and second singles position. The Rams need to win at first and second singles, as well as first and second doubles, to defeat their opponents. Securing success in all areas of the matchup will assist the team in the upcoming tournament.

The Rams will enter the A10 Championship as the sixth seed and face the 11-seed La Salle University Explorers on Thursday, April 29. La Salle has a 3-10 record for the season, having already lost to Fordham earlier this year. Should the Explorers deliver a performance consistent with previous tournament appearances, Fordham should enter this matchup confident in a favorable result. If Fordham advances, the team will play the third seed, the University of Richmond, on Friday, April 30.

In the 2018-19 season, the last time the men’s team played in the A10 Championship, they defeated 10-seed Saint Louis University to advance to the second round (quarterfinal) against Richmond. The Rams were ultimately defeated in that round, cutting their historic season short. This was the first season since 2013-14 that Fordham had advanced past the first round in the tournament.

While there was no championship last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t stop Fordham’s momentum from continuing. With the A10 experience of seniors Maurtizson, de Macar, Makatsaria and Green, who have demonstrated consistent performances and solid records for the last few years, the Rams’ future is optimistic. Fordham will go into the tournament with this newfound success and the hope of avenging their second-round defeat if the Rams face Richmond in a rematch this year.