Daily Egyptian

Rigby and Kianicka may move up the record books

(DailyEgyptian.com file photo of Jonny Rigby)

(DailyEgyptian.com file photo of Jonny Rigby)

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

History could be made with the SIU men’s tennis team this season.

Saluki men’s tennis’ number-one doubles team, senior Jonny Rigby and junior Michal Kianicka are on pace to break multiple records. 

Both are close to the record of career doubles wins by an individual. Brandon Florez set the record with 55 in 2013. Rigby is in third place with 49 and Kianicka is in fourth with 42.  

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They are the third winningest doubles team in SIU history with 31, which is 13 away from tying the record set by the Fabiano Ramos and Mickey Maule team in 1989 with 44 wins. 

Rigby and Kianicka’s record as a team is 31-10, and they are currently ninth on the SIU career win percentage list. The record was set in the 1960 season when Jerry Budzelek and Bob Sprengelmeyer went 20-1 as the No. 2 doubles team.

Kianicka said he has his sights set on an undefeated season with Rigby.

“Since my freshman year that has been my goal,” Kianicka said. “This year is the most realistic chance for us.”

 This weekend’s Purdue Invitational will be the first time Rigby and Kianicka play together competitively in nearly a year.

The two played doubles in the 2013-2014 season, going 22-7 including the Missouri Valley Conference individual doubles championship in November of 2013. The duo then went 9-3 in the fall of 2014 before coach Dann Nelson split them up heading into the 2015 spring season. He did so to have a better chance at securing a team title because the conference individual tournament is no longer held.

“With Jonny being a senior, this is our last chance to see how far they can go in these individual tournaments,” Nelson said.

Kianicka said he is a natural doubles player, and hanging around the front of the net to counter the opposing volleys is what he does best. The duo’s styles of play complement each other, he said.

“Both of my brothers were doubles players too,” Kianicka said. ”It must run in the family.” 

Rigby doesn’t think much about the records — he needed to be reminded of which ones he was closing in on. He said his focus is on winning all his matches and everything else will follow.

“These two guys have been winning since they got here as freshmen and they continue to do well,” Nelson said. “It’s what we expect out of these guys — they’re the anchor of our team right now.”

The SIU men’s tennis team will go to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete in the Purdue Invitational from Friday through Sunday. 

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @EvanJones_DE

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