UChicago men’s tennis team storms back to win NCAA championship

Maroons win final three matches to clinch second title in three years

The University of Chicago men’s tennis team pulled off an incredible comeback Friday, earning the NCAA tournament title by winning its final three matches over top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

UChicago trailed the match 4-2 and was on the brink of defeat after losing the first three matches of singles play. But after lightning halted the match for more than two hours, the No. 2 Maroons (25-1) came storming back.

Arjun Asokumar clinched the Maroons’ second NCAA championship in the past three years with a dramatic three-set rally at No. 3 singles, ripping a forehand from the right baseline for the winning point. Asokumar flipped his racket into the air in excitement, and his teammates mobbed him on the court.

“This team is different. We’re not the most talented team by any means, but we’re the toughest and grittiest in the country. We pride ourselves in our ability to dig out these moments, and that’s something we've emphasized the whole season,” said Asokumar, a fourth-year student and a UChicago Laboratory Schools alum. “We weren’t supposed to win that match, but we deserved it. We fought harder and played the big moments better.”

The Maroons’ victory capped a historic week for the UChicago tennis program, which saw the women’s team earn its first NCAA championship in program history on Thursday. It was just the sixth time in Division III history that a school won both the men’s and women’s tennis team titles in the same season. In addition, Rena Lin won the NCAA individual women's tournament championship on Monday.

UChicago head coach Matt Brisotti said he was proud of his team’s resilience against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which had won its past 25 matches. After the weather delay, the Maroons’ Ajer Sher and Derek Hsieh each earned three-set victories to tie the match, setting up Asokumar’s dramatic comeback to clinch the title.

“When it was 4-2, I knew we were down, but we weren’t out. With this group, one of the values is a will to refuse to lose. That is exactly what we did today,” Brisotti said. “One of my beliefs is that if you go out, compete as hard as you can and with a good attitude and spirit, good things can happen. Today was no different than the rest of this season. We played with that determination and confidence.”

In doubles, UChicago won two of three matches to open play, with victories by Andrei Leonov and Pat Otero and Jack Wong and Asokumar.

With their title, the Maroons won the fourth team championship in the school’s Division III era (women’s tennis 2024, men’s tennis and men’s soccer, both in 2022). The UChicago men’s team was making its sixth Final Four appearance in the past nine years (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2024).