Hawkeyes engine comprised of Allaf and Tyler in 2019-20

Iowa men’s tennis is gearing up for another run at the NCAA Tournament in 2019-20. Joe Tyler, Kareem Allaf and Company are embracing expectations and motivated to make 2019-20 a special season for the Hawkeyes.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Kareem Allaf hits a forehand during a men's tennis match between Iowa and Illinois State at the HTRC on Sunday, April 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Redbirds, 6-1.

Austin Hanson, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s tennis laid the ground for greatness during the 2018-19 season, and its goals going forward are driven by returners who know the capability of their team.

Hawkeyes Kareem Allaf and Joe Tyler have their eyes set on one specific milestone that they failed to reach in the spring: the NCAA tournament.

“Last year we missed out on NCAAs by one spot, which was tough for the team. But, last season was one of the best we’ve had in years,” said Tyler.

Kareem Allaf adamantly backed up his teammate.

After coming so close last season, making the NCAA tournament is priority number one for Allaf, Tyler, and the rest of the Hawkeyes.

“We want to push it that one step higher and keep beating those highly ranked teams,” said Tyler.

It all goes back to missing last season, he said, and carrying that chip on their shoulder all the way through to reaching the main goal.

“I think we have a very high ceiling. We just want to keep working up to it,” said Allaf.

Lofty individual goals that Allaf and Tyler set for themselves will steer the Hawkeyes in the right direction in 2019-20.

Tyler, after finishing .500 in his singles matches last season, is looking to build and become better by racking up those wins early in the coming season. Allaf finished slightly better 23-18 with more singles matches under his belt.

Their individual and collective success will be important for the team as a whole to gain points and move through the season on a high note.

“Just being able to get wins in the fall or the spring is just going to help the team. Obviously the more you win as an individual, the more confidence you’re going to have, and the more confidence you have, the better you’re going to play,” said Tyler.

In addition to gains on the court playing for Iowa, Allaf and Tyler are looking to make gains on the professional court this season.

“Me and Kareem [Allaf] are off to a pro event in a couple of days,” said Tyler. “It’s a good experience being able to go out there against a lot of these guys that are doing it for a living. We’re still at University and studying, and those guys are there full time, so it’s good to see that we can still compete with those guys.”

Despite all the professional opportunities and career achievements, Allaf and Tyler remain committed to the team. Both players are driven by their individual goals. However, neither Tyler nor Allaf will allow their individual goals to take precedent over the team’s goals.

“I’m more focused on the team aspect of things. I owe the program more than my individual success. I’m hoping to end my career with an NCAA tournament win,” said Allaf.

A make or break run for the NCAA tournament lies ahead for the Iowa Hawkeyes, and expectations are monumentally high. However, the Hawkeyes seem well-equipped to make an NCAA tournament run and meet expectations this season. Team chemistry, veteran leadership, and a talented roster can drive the Hawkeyes as far as they want to go in 2019-20, and in just a few short months the Hawkeyes might drive themselves right into the NCAA tournament.

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