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Blake Competes This Weekend

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While the bulk of the tennis season is in the spring, the Harvard men's squad is already quite active.

All-American senior captain Tom Blake is beginning play today--fittingly--in the All--American Championships held in Austin, Texas. The No. 19 player in the nation is facing college tennis finest.

In the meantime, Blake's little brother James, a freshman, is heading over to Philadelphia to participate in the Penn Classic next week along with sophomore John Doran.

"We use the fall to get national exposure for our top eight guys," said assistant coach Peter Mandeau, who added that players are still vying for these spots.

Indeed, the ECAC Invitational--which was dominated a week ago by the Crimson--was the only substantial team event of the fall. In that competition, Harvard annihilated the 16-team field losing only three out of 28 matches. The victory enables the Crimson to enter the National Indoor Tennis Championships next February in Lexington, Kentucky.

In the meantime, the coaching staff is scrambling to get the top players from its 19th-ranked squad out on the road to compete against non-regional opponents.

"If we only stay within the region, we do not get enough national exposure, both in terms of practicing against tough competition and in terms of helping our rankings," coach Mandeau said.

The next event in which more than one or two players from Harvard will participate is the Regional Rolex Championships, held in Philadelphia three weeks from now. The Crimson will send at least a handful of athletes to compete there. Once again, the contest is based on individual play, with the winner and runner-up qualifying for the national event in Dallas held in January.

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