College Knowledge: Tufts University
MEDFORD, MA - The Tufts University Men’s Tennis Team took advantage of a pandemic-riddled 2020 season by completing their most successful season in more than 20 years. Led by former captain Boris Sorkin (graduated) and New Englander Isaac Gorelik, Tufts last year reached the finals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament. Head Coach Karl Gregor feels that with the promotion of Gorelik to captain and No. 1 singles player, his squad has the talent and leadership to surpass last season’s success.
Gregor answers questions about the current makeup of his team and what he expects from them this season.
What type of athlete and person are you looking to recruit at Tufts?
We are trying to recruit the total package of a great athlete: passion for tennis, strong character and someone who fits in with our team culture.
In what ways do you hope your athletes improve from the junior level to NCAA tennis?
We really hope our players improve mainly in their tactical and strategic understanding of the game as well as their mental processes and approach to the game.
Your team is filled with international talent. What is the recruiting process like for those players?
We do recruit from all over the world (currently 6 countries and 4 continents). We rarely are able to do any home visits internationally and are hopeful the recruits can at least travel to Boston to see us. Otherwise, we do a lot of phone calls, zooms, connect them with other players on the team to try and get them as good of feel as possible for student-athlete life here at Tufts.
One of your captains, Isaac Gorelik, is a former New England junior. How important is local talent to your program?
I love local talent and am definitely looking to add more. We’re short on it now, which is not by design. A few years ago we had 5 kids on the team from New England.
You lost your star player Boris Sorkin to graduation. How big of a role will Isaac have to play this year, and what do you expect from him in his senior season?
Isaac’s role will be very important both on and off the court. He’s already stepped up in a big way on the doubles court going from out of the doubles lineup last year to top 10 ranked in the region this fall. I expect him to play No. 1 this spring and am confident he can be formidable at that spot. His leadership is also paying great dividends already in how he’s managing the team and keeping them disciplined and focused this off season as team captain.
Tufts reached the conference finals last year. Do you expect that experience will help you in getting back there and hopefully winning this year?
The experience was valuable, but last year was such a strange season with some of the top NESCAC teams not playing. I think every one of our guys believes they can and deserve to be back there, but they are more focused on just competing their best this spring.
How confident are you in this year’s squad?
I think we have the players to do very well this year. The conference is quite strong as always, and there are 4 or 5 teams who all have a legitimate shot at winning the NESCAC. We’ll play several other strong out-of-conference opponents like Brandeis, which will have NCAA implications. Our hope is to compete a lot and hit our peak in later April to make a run in the conference tournament and NCAAs.
What advice would you give to a New England junior interested in Tufts?
Play a lot of events, be it USTA, UTR or high school. There’s no substitute for match play experience and coaches will take note when they see a long match track record.
What can a New England junior expect from you if he chooses to play at Tufts?
He can expect a four-year partnership and lifelong relationship. I strive to give my players the best opportunities possible to improve their tennis as well as excel academically and in the career-search front as well. My goal for players is that they leave playing the best tennis of their lives and are transitioning to a career or job opportunity they are excited and passionate about.
To learn more about Tufts Men’s Tennis, click here.