Senior Shawn Hadavi will take his talents to Malibu, California this weekend for the 2016 Oracle Masters Tournament to represent the Ivy League.
The reigning conference player of the year, Hadavi is the only Columbia representative at the prestigious tournament, which boosts an impressive field of players. In the 32-player draw, conference champions from across the country will come together in one of the more highly-regarded tournaments of the fall.
Hadavi’s opponent in the first round of the main draw will be Purdue junior Gergely Madarasz, named the MVP of the Big Ten a season ago. He recorded a 20-3 record in singles play, going 8-1 in Big 10 play, where he won seven of those eight matches in straight sets.
The No. 36 ranked Madarasz should present challenges to Hadavi with a big serve and impressive defense. Hadavi plays in a very similar fashion to the 5-foot-10 Hungary native, so the match will feature strength against strength. A left-hander, Madarasz also puts unique spin on the ball, something Hadavi will need to adjust to if he is to advance to the next round.
Head coach Bid Goswami added that Madarasz had a lot of success at the ITA All-American tournament a week ago, but he remains optimistic that Hadavi can deliver under pressure.
“He [Madarasz] has a lot of topspin from each side,” Goswami said. “He has a really nice left-handed serve as well, so I hope that Shawn can respond to that challenge.”
Texas A&M’s Arthur Rinderknech, who faced Hadavi in the ITA National Indoor Championships last spring, is seeded third in the singles draw. In a back-and-forth match, Hadavi defeated the then-No. 9 ranked player in the country 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. The match kickstarted what turned into a noteworthy year for Hadavi, who was not even a part of the Light Blue’s lineup until late in his sophomore year.
Rinderknech sits on the bottom half of the draw, and should he advance to the final match, he will face off against Hadavi if Hadavi also advances. Nonetheless, Goswami maintained that Hadavi’s focus is squarely on Madarasz, and that he is excited to represent the Ancient Eight on a national stage.
“It’s exciting that somebody from Columbia is representing the entire league,” Goswami said. “I don’t want to look too far ahead—I want to focus on the match at hand. But I am proud that Shawn is here.”
Hadavi will also participate in the mixed doubles draw, which takes the men’s and women’s player from each conference and pairs them together to form a mixed doubles pair. Since Kanika Vaidya, CC ’16 and last year’s female Ivy Player of the Year, graduated this past spring, Hadavi will play with Penn’s Kana Daniel.
“It’s a shame that Shawn didn’t get to play with Kanika,” Goswami said. “Even though the two [Hadavi and Daniel] haven’t played together, I am proud that they are representing the Ivy League.”
Hadavi and Goswami will be the only members of the squad traveling to California, as the rest of the team and coaching staff will remain home working to get ready for the upcoming ITA Regional Championships. Despite the absence of his teammates, Hadavi will remain squarely focused on the task at hand—showing that he belongs among the top players of the country.
Hadavi’s match will commence at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Pepperdine.