With all eyes on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s No.17 doubles partners Thomas Laurent and Cormac Clissold, Oregon men’s tennis has secured the all-important doubles point with sophomore Ty Gentry and senior Simon Stevens going 14-1 in the 2017-18 season as well.
Gentry and Stevens come in at No. 37 in doubles rankings, making them the third highest ranked pair in the Pac-12. Oregon is the only school in the Pac-12 to have two pairs in the top-50.
Having this advantage bodes well for the Ducks. The last time Oregon won a spring match when dropping the doubles point was 12 matches ago against No.15 Stanford last year.
Before this season, Gentry and Stevens were not locks to be partners due to their 3-3 record together.
“We were definitely struggling a little bit,” Stevens said. “Because you know when you have a new partner, the game is different. You have to adapt your game to your new partner; have good chemistry.”
Stevens is sixth on Oregon’s career singles victory list and is currently seven wins away from tying 2016 graduate Daan Maasland for fourth in school history.
Stevens is also no stranger to dominant doubles play. His partnership with Maasland in 2015-16 was good for a 22-7 record, the fourth best in school history.
“Ty was a new guy and I had never played with him before,” Stevens said. “He plays very differently than Daan, so it definitely took time to adapt our game. We played less together last year too, so we had less opportunity to adapt our game to each other.”
Gentry has learned a lot from the more experienced Stevens on and off the court. After going 11-10 in his freshman year in singles play, Gentry not only improved his game but his record too, posting a 13-2 record this season.
“We’ve just clicked,” Gentry said. “I mean we’re good friends off the court now. We go out to eat together. We hang out all time time. I get him when he is on the court and I know he’s got me.”
Head coach Nils Schyllander has found a perfect match by pairing the experience and fire of Stevens with the steadiness of Gentry.
“Ty is a really steady doubles player and makes a lot of returns and [Stevens] brings a lot of energy to the court,” Schyllander said. “The personalities mesh out there. They just work together.”
The duo look to continue their strong season together with the possibility of leaving their names linked in the record books. If the pair wins their next six matches, they would break Laurent and Clissold’s record for consecutive doubles wins. If they win six more matches overall, they would crack the top-15 wins list for doubles at Oregon.
“Details can make the difference,” Stevens said. “Being friends means we probably have better communication on the court than if we didn’t know each other at all. So those little details really make a difference in matches.”
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack