first_imgBoth the Wisconsin men’s and women’s tennis teams will open their home seasons this weekend at Nielsen Tennis Stadium, as the men face off against Butler and Northern Illinois, while the women look to serve losses to the University of Illinois-Chicago and Eastern Michigan.On the women’s side, UW will also see its first dual action of 2007, playing host to UIC Saturday and Eastern Michigan Sunday afternoon. Leading the way for the Badgers will be No. 17 senior Caitlin Burke (Cedarburg) who returned last weekend from the Virginia Invitational with a singles championship, and was one-half of the doubles championship team along with sophomore Liz Carpenter. Burke was rewarded for her efforts with Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career, but Head Coach Patti Henderson does not think it will be her last.”[I expect] nothing less than I’ve seen every year so far,” Henderson said. “She’s very motivated, very talented. She’s continued to improve, and will continue to improve throughout the season.”The Badger women’s history with their two upcoming opponents is anything but extensive. UW has faced UIC and Eastern Michigan only once apiece, with wins in both 2003 and 1977.Although the players aren’t familiar with many of the faces they’ll be matching up against, Henderson will definitely recognize her counterpart for UIC, head coach Shannon Tully. A 1996 graduate of UW, Tully competed for the Badgers from 1992 though 1995 and was team captain throughout the 1994 and 1995 seasons, the last of which was Henderson’s first year at the helm.But Henderson isn’t sidetracked by the showdown with her former protégé, because she knows what to expect from IUC on the court.”They’ve won their conference championship the last ten years,” said Henderson, “so we know we have to be ready and prepared.” The Badger men’s team will open up their 2007 regular season Saturday looking to improve upon the foundation that they laid in 2006. Returning for the spring are all the key cogs from a successful fall, including juniors Jeremy Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill.) and Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.), who have proven to be a handful for opponents both in singles matches and in doubles.Sonkin will see his first action since early November, when an elbow injury forced him to withdraw from the Big Ten Singles Championships.Polley, who advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Singles Championships and later won two matches at the ITA regional, will form the core of a young team along with Sonkin, team captain Lachezar Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria), and freshman Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany), who brings loads of amateur success and an added degree of work ethic to UW. Baumann has ranked in the top 20 in Germany in both the under-16 and under-18 divisions. UW certainly has history on its side this weekend, as the Badger men have never lost to Butler (3-0) and have lost only twice to Northern Illinois in 26 chances.last_img