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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By SYDNEY OCKER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team continued to show progress in 2017, winning two more matches and with four of its defeats coming by a narrow, 4-3, margin.
The Hawkeyes graduate two seniors — Robin Haden and Nils Hallestrand — but will return four experienced starters (Kareem Allaf, Jake Jacoby, Jonas Larsen, and Josh Silverstein), while welcoming a recruiting class ranked 16th nationally this fall.
“We’ve got four talented athletes in this recruiting class that can play tennis at a high level,” said Iowa head coach Ross Wilson.Joe Tyler and Will Davies, two recruits from England, are both highly ranked on the British circuit.
Tyler, a native of Corby, England, has reached an ITF ranking as high as 210; his current Men’s Open ranking in Great Britain is No. 25. He has collected ITF singles titles in Doha, Qatar, and Malmo, Sweden, in 2016.
“Joe is the No. 2 ranked player in the U.K. He’s a tall athletic guy with a big game,” said Wilson “He’s going to make a difference in our lineup right away.”
Wilson looks for Davies to be an asset on the doubles court as well. He has won a number of tournaments with Tyler in England.
Davies’ current ITF ranking is 352. He represented Great Britain five times in the U14 and U16 International events.
“Will has an aggressive game with good volleys. He’s a great doubles player, a team guy, and plays with a lot of energy,” Wilson said.
Piotr Smietana is the most recent addition to the recruiting class. The native of Krakow, Poland, has an ITF World Junior Ranking of 275 and is a three-time Polish National Champion, winning the U14 title in 2010, U16 in 2014, and U18 in 2016.
Smietana is a member of the Polish Davis Cup Team and was bronze medalist at the 2016 Polish Senior Championships.
“In juniors, every tournament is an individual event,” Wilson said, “Playing Davis Cup is one of the only opportunities players have to play on a team before they come to college. I think it gives them a good sense of what it’s going to be like here.”
Smietana has registered ITF singles tournament titles in Liepaja, Latvia (2015) and Corfu, Greece (2016). He has also posted ITF doubles tournament titles in Tirana, Albania (2013); Liepaja, Latvia (2015); Veli Losinj, Croatia, and Mostar, Bosnia/Herzegovina (2015).
Nikita Snezhko of Minnesota will also be joining the Hawkeyes in 2017-18.
“The sky is the limit for Nikita. He has a big serve and forehand. I think his game will quickly improve in our system,” said Wilson. “In addition to these four incoming freshmen being great tennis players, they are also mature individuals and take their academics seriously. We can’t wait for them to arrive on campus and join our team.”