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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The doubles partnership of Roegner and Krstulovic was a successful ‘experiment’

Partners Blake Roegner (left) and Tin Krstulovic (right) were moved to the No. 1 doubles spot this year. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Experimental. Accidental. Lucky. 

These are just a few words that describe how sophomore Blake Roegner and senior Tin Krstulovic became Marquette men’s tennis doubles partners last year.

“We looked at those guys and they both had pretty good skillsets to bring to the table, but college tennis doubles is very much about physicality,” Interim director of tennis Jud Shaufler said. “Between the two of them last year, they didn’t have a lot of that, and to put them together really didn’t make a total amount of sense, so we did it as an experiment and it worked.”

In the first match of the 2022-23 campaign, Roegner — in his first collegiate game — and Krstulovic were put into the lineup at the No. 2 position and ended up notching their first doubles win together. 

“First match of the year, me and Tin had almost never played together, and then just all of the sudden, we got thrown into the Drake match together,” Roegner said. “We clicked almost instantly. It was really honestly crazy how well we ended up playing together, and I felt great with him as well.” 

The pair finished the season with an 11-8 record and moved up to the No. 1 position this year.

Krstulovic said the experience of playing with Roegner last season has played a key part in their success on the court.

“There’s a little bit of a difference between two and one, but it’s not a different world out there,” Krstulovic said. “It more matters that we played together last year, so we had experience playing together.”

Schaufler said he has been impressed with how Roegner and Krstulovic have embraced their new role.

“They learned that if they were going to play No. 1, they were going to come up against teams that were going to be as skilled as they were but had some real firepower and some physicality,” Schaufler said. “They’ve proven that they can match up from a strength standpoint and still use their tennis skillset to be successful. They’ve definitely proved that that can work for them.” 

Krstulovic credited Roegner, who recently took Krstulovic’s No. 1 spot in singles, for the improvements he has made in his game.

“Our overall performance is better because he made a big step forward in his game. Specifically, I’m pretty much similar to how I played last year. He did much more of a step forward,” Krstulovic said. “It just shows that he makes progress, he gets better and it definitely helps us in doubles as well.”

As for the personalities of the two players, Schaufler said their similar laidback nature has allowed their chemistry to grow along with their success.

“These two guys are not what you would call collegiate, super fired-up guys,” Schaufler said. “They tend to be a little more cerebral out there. That has matched up together. Going back to last year, we weren’t really expecting that to really work because sometimes, if you have a guy who’s not as jacked up and fired up, it works well to pair him with someone like that.

“Tin and Blake, they don’t represent that for each other, but it’s worked because their temperament is pretty much the same out there.” 

As the team prepares for the Big East Tournament, Roegner said he will miss playing with Krstulovic the most.

“I love playing with him,” Roegner said. “It’s so much fun. I maybe joke a little bit too much out on the court when I need to be more serious, but I always love it. It’s my favorite part of matches is whenever we play and getting to play with Tin. I’m going to hate it when he’s gone next year and I have to find someone new.”

It might have started off as a lucky pairing, but Krstulovic said nothing they’ve accomplished on the court will ever mean more to him than the bond he will always have with Roegner.

“Given that we mentioned luck, I’ve spent my junior and senior year playing with Blake pretty much in every single doubles match except for the fall,” Krstulovic said. “In terms of luck, that’s luck for me. I had a great experience, great support and great time playing with him.

“In terms of my college career, I was lucky to be paired up with Blake. I also had a friend outside of the court. His family supporting me as well with the job search and everything else, so being paired up with Blake, it’s more of outside of the court luck. The life thing is the good thing that happened.”

This story was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.

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