When looking through the annals of Ohio State Tennis history, two names jump out as dominant players in recent years: Mikael Torpegaard and J.J. Wolf. Torpegaard, who graduated in 2018, was a five-time All-American and runner-up in both singles and doubles in the NCAA Championship. Wolf, who played three years as a Buckeye before embarking on what is becoming a very successful professional career, was a first-team All-Big Ten player in every year he competed.
This week, the close friends, practice partners and roommates are thriving on their home courts at the Ohio State Varsity Indoor Tennis Center – both have reached the quarterfinals and are each one match away from potentially facing each other in the semifinals.
“We’re ex-teammates and now roommates,” said Torpegaard. “So we’re pretty close. I practice with him every day when we’re in Columbus and also a fair amount when we’re on the road. We’ve played a fair share of practice sets this year, but I’m sure this will be different.”
Both Wolf and Torpegaard recognize the uniqueness of being able to play a tournament on familiar courts at home and have seen the positives that come with support from friends and family.
“It’s comfortable for me,” said Wolf. “I’m always really excited to play here. A lot of my friends and family get to come out as well as Buckeye fans. I’m excited and happy to be here.”
Torpegaard agrees that the support can be amazing, but the defending champion is also wary of the pressure and expectations that can accompany these circumstances. He has had to fight through two tough matches where he mentioned that nerves had a factor in not being able to play his absolute best.
“It’s a great feeling to play in front of your friends – all the guys come out to support you in college – it’s a very good feeling. It’s easier to play at home when you’re used to these courts, but of course the added pressure definitely gets to you.”
Walking on court for their quarterfinals against higher-ranked opponents, Wolf and Torpegaard can’t think about what could loom in Saturday’s semifinal, but the possibility for an all-Buckeye matchup is very real.
“It’s another practice set,” said Torpegaard about his potential semifinal with his good friend. “That’s the only way we can really look at it. At the end of the day, all that matters is to focus on your game and forget all the other circumstances. Let’s get through the quarterfinals first, but it will be fun.”