Four athletes make up the 2020 Iowa men’s tennis recruiting class

Head coach Ross Wilson has brought in four top junior tennis players to help build on record-setting 2020 season.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa head coach Ross Wilson watches his team play during a men’s tennis match between Iowa and Nebraska-Omaha at the HTRC on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mavericks, 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

Coming off of a season where the Hawkeye men’s tennis team found itself finishing with the highest ranking in school history, Iowa has brought in four new recruits.

Head men’s tennis coach Ross Wilson and his coaching staff have grabbed Chris Heck, Peter Alam, Alex Petrov, and Rudra Dixit for the team’s 2020 recruiting class.

Alex Petrov is a five-star recruit and a top-five USTA 18s player in the Southern California area. His highest youth national ranking was No. 22, and he has won multiple national doubles titles as well.

The left-handed server has moved around in his life from New York to Florida before settling in Southern California. The latter two areas are considered breeding grounds for top tennis players in the U.S., so Petrov grew up playing some of the best junior tennis players the country has to offer and has multiple wins over top ITF junior players to show for it.

“I think Alex is maybe one of the most talented — if not the most talented — guy on our roster right now,” Wilson said. “He is a guy who I think can really develop and become our No. 1 or No. 2 player.”

Wilson said that the way the ball comes off of Petrov’s racket and his movement reminds him of ITA Central Region Senior Player of Year and Iowa star Kareem Allaf when he was a new recruit four years ago.

Chris Heck is the latest player to commit to the Hawkeyes. The Toronto, Canada, native is a dual citizen who has lived and competed in Florida for much of his life.

Heck is currently listed as No. 492 in the ITF junior tennis rankings with a career-high ranking of No. 394. In the last three years, he has reached the finals of ITF junior tournaments twice for singles and doubles respectively, and he has made semifinal runs in three other ITF tournaments as well.

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“He has gotten a good mix of indoor and outdoor tennis, and he has played all over the world, so he is going to know how to play in different venues,” Wilson said.

The Hawkeyes have added their fifth player from the United Kingdom to the roster this year in Peter Alam. A six-time ITF doubles champion and two-time ITF singles finalist, Alam carries an impressive overall ITF record of 85-55 with a No. 236 ranking.

Alam has played with sophomore Matt Clegg and has come in contact with all of the other U.K. players on the Iowa roster through various British tennis events.

“Pete is a guy who hits the ball so cleanly and the ball is coming off of his racket very fast,” Wilson said. “When you are looking at doubles, he is going to be able to hold serve, force volleyers to make errors because of the pace and spin he can put on the ball, and he has really good hands around the net, so he definitely has all of the ability to be a high-level player for us.”

To round out the recruiting class, Wilson and his staff turned to Olathe, Kansas, to grab the 6-foot-5, three-star recruit, Rudra Dixit.

Dixit is one of the top-ranked USTA 18s players for the Missouri Valley region and had an early goal to come to the University of Iowa to play tennis.

“When I watched him play in the national indoors in November, I just saw a guy that had untapped potential,” Wilson said. “When you are 17-18 years old and you are that big, you really have not grown into your body 100 percent yet.”

With the roster considered set for the 2020-2021 academic year, Wilson said he is excited to see what this year brings.

“It’s the best team I have ever had at Iowa, and I would say it is arguably the best team in the history of Iowa tennis,” Wilson said.