TENNIS: Men battle at Duke Bonk Invitational; Preparing the women for the Bulldog Invitational


The men’s tennis team kicked off the competition at the Duke Bonk Invitational; The women are training for the first competition of the fall season.


Grayson Lambert

10:08 p.m., Sep 20, 2022

Staff reporter

Courtesy of Musco Sports Photos

Last weekend, four members of Yale’s men’s tennis team traveled to North Carolina, where they kicked off the team’s fall season at the Duke Bonk Invitational. There they joined powerhouse programs like Indiana University, Miami University and Virginia Tech for a weekend of fierce competition.

Freshman Vignesh Gogineni ’26 picked up his first collegiate victories at the tournament, eventually winning the B flight via a 6–2, 6–2 win over UNC Wilmington’s Davide Inocenti in the singles final.

“Obviously I’m very proud of my results, but there are certainly lessons to be learned and things to improve,” Gogineni wrote to The News. “I will mostly work on consistency and focus throughout games and have a routine/rituals before and during games.”

Duke University hosted this weekend’s invitation to Cary Tennis Park. The invite is named in honor of the late James Bonk, a longtime Duke chemistry professor.

Walker Oberg ’25 also boasted a successful performance at the tournament, advancing to the final in Vol C before losing to Miami’s Antonio Pratt in a narrow third set win (6–3, 3–6, 5–7).

“Playing more games than usual for college games, I physically took care of myself so I could perform at my best for three days in a row,” Oberg said.

Luke Neal ’25, the only other sophomore who traveled to North Carolina, noted the high level competition from the eight schools in attendance.

All four Bulldogs played singles and doubles over the weekend, with Gogineni playing with Dean and Oberg with Neal.

“I’m going to keep working on the aggression and trying to score points up front, and I’m looking forward to the regionals in October and having another opportunity to compete,” Neal said.

Gogineni, Oberg and Neal were joined by team captain Theo Dean ’24 in competition this weekend.

“Going forward, we will continue to focus on maintaining a process-oriented mindset as opposed to a results-oriented mindset,” Dean wrote to the News. “While winning and getting good results is always fun, we’re going to do our best to put more emphasis and value on the process: being professional with our training, having good competitive energy and working hard.”

Eduardo Ugalde, the men’s tennis assistant coach, also traveled with the team to Duke, where he spent a season as a volunteer assistant coach.

Yale men’s tennis head coach Chris Drake pointed to the successes of Gogineni and Oberg in their respective bouts, as well as Neal’s strong wins over UNC Charlotte and Virginia Tech players.

“I think all four players showed a high level of play over the weekend,” Drake said. “Also Coach Ugalde did a great job keeping the guys focused on the good stuff throughout the weekend. We try to keep the guys on a high level with things they can control and I think Ugalde really helped keep their minds focused all weekend.

The team will then face off together at the Dartmouth Invitational at the end of October. However, Dean and Michael Sun ’23 will also compete in the ITA All American qualifying competition in early October.

This weekend, the women’s tennis team will kick off the fall competition with the Bulldog Invitational. They host Rutgers on Friday, followed by Boston University on Saturday and Brown on Sunday. Although the results of the Yale-Brown game won’t count for the season standings, the Bulldogs will get a taste of what this spring’s Ivy competition could look like.

Sasha Wood ’24 said she was looking forward to her first competition with the Bulldogs after competing as a Columbia Lion during her first two years in college.

Most of Wood’s summer training consisted of two sessions: a “technical and tactical” block in the morning and a second consisting of games in the afternoon.

Freshman Ann Wright Guerry ’26 shared that most summer days she played four to five hours with conditioning and lifting mixed together. In addition, she participated in national competitions on clay and hard courts.

“I can’t wait to compete as a team! In junior tennis,” Guerry wrote to the News, “it’s almost entirely individual, so I’m super excited to compete alongside some fantastic players.”

Looking ahead, the ITA competition for women will begin the last weekend of September and the team will then compete together at the Brown Invitational on October 21.