Ball State men’s tennis opens up its fall season at the Purdue Invitational this weekend. Head coach Bill Richards looks forward to the competition his team will see, as there are 14 teams listed on the tournament roster.

The Cardinals will be challenged by a strong group of in-state rivals in Butler, IUPUI and Purdue, along with other tough teams like Marquette. Richards, however, said "the tournament will be strong in terms of quality players."

Last season, the team faced three teams from Indiana. They went 3-4 and picked up wins against IUPUI, IU Southeast and Taylor University. Richards said he’s not too worried about the in-state rival teams this weekend.

“We are concerned about how we play,” said Richards. “The fall is about individual evaluation and improvement.”

The Cardinals recorded a tournament victory at Flight C doubles last season, where junior Tom Carney and redshirt freshman Luke Wiese defeated IUPUI’s Jac Newis and Mikel Saavedra. Carney looks forward to competing against talented programs.

“It’s nice to play against good competition and a good team, like Purdue,” said Carney. “We’re gonna be aggressive and have a lot of energy going into the matches."

Senior Jan Jirus also recorded a win at the Flight C singles championship against Mid-American Conference foe Toledo’s Oma Espinosa last season. Jirus said he enjoys playing every match.

“As long as we play good tennis and we’re satisfied with the level of tennis we play, then it doesn't matter who we play against,” said Jirus.

The first rounds of singles and doubles action will start tomorrow at 8 a.m. at the Purdue Recreation Sports Center in West Lafayette.