USTA gives Rutgers professional feeling

The Rutgers tennis team is ready to compete after nearly a month off at the U.S. Open’s recent location. 

The team will travel to Flushing, N.Y. tomorrow for the United States Tennis Association Invitational at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

It lasts until Sunday as the second full-weekend tournament of the Scarlet Knights’ fall season. 

Assistant coach Hilary Ritchie knows the team is excited to play on the same courts as the likes of Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams did a few short weeks. 

“It’s a great tournament,” Ritchie said. “Several teams come in and the ladies always like to play [at Flushing Meadows] where the U.S. Open is.”

Head coach Ben Bucca has attended the USTA tournament several times and is also excited for the players to compete in professional and historic atmosphere.

“[The tournament] is really fantastic,” Bucca said. “Our players will be playing on the same courts, including the stadium courts, that some of the top tennis players from around the world play on so it is a great atmosphere and a very unique opportunity for the girls.”

The team has taken advantage of three weeks off between tournaments to nurse some injuries and improve their physical condition. 

“[We’re all] anxious to compete,” Bucca said. “We’ve had three weeks of practice. Practice has gone well. We’re nursing some injury issues with the players, but nevertheless everyone else who is healthy is really looking forward to getting out there and doing what they enjoy most and that is competing.”

Freshman Farris Cunningham, who is nursing an ankle injury, is hoping to build on her successful first tournament at the Brown Invitational. Cunningham reached the finals of her singles draw before having to withdraw from competition because of the injury. 

“I think we need focus on what we learned [at the Brown Invitational],” Cunningham said. “We had a really good team dynamic amongst the other teams so we need to keep that up.” 

Approximately 20 other teams will compete at the USTA this weekend from all around the country, including familiar foe Brown. 

Other teams include regional foes St. Johns, Fordham and southern region opponent Charleston Southern. 

For updates on the Rutgers tennis team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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