Amir, Lagerlof on a roll for men’s tennis

By Darwin Minnis

Men’s tennis is on the rise this year and it’s aided by its nationally recognized doubles team of redshirt junior Dor Amir and senior Axel Lagerlof.

The duo is a powerhouse for the Huskies, earning a 12-1 record. Peaking at No. 37 in the national rankings, these two work well on the court, but there’s more to their success than what happens between the lines.

Much of Amir and Lagerlof’s success has come due to the relationship they formed away from tennis.

Since coming to NIU in 2010, Lagerlof and Amir have helped each other get accustomed to new environments and experiences. Amir, from Israel, and Lagerlof, from Sweden, moved from overseas to the states to play tennis at NIU. What could have been a difficult period of adjustment was made easier with the help of each other, especially since they decided to live together.

“We’ve been roommates since we moved here,” Lagerlof said. “It’s helped a lot.”

Almost four years spent living together has allowed the two to become close friends. Away from tennis, the duo spends their time hanging out just like other students. But time spent living together is sometimes spent talking about tennis and working on their game.

“We like to watch what other teams do right and wrong,” Lagerlof said. “Then we like to correct those mistakes to get better.”

Living together allows Amir and Lagerlof to learn each other’s tendencies on another level. At any time they can make comments for improving each other’s games, especially after coming home from a match.

“If you look at the best doubles teams in the world, they are all really good friends with each other,” Amir said.

On the court, these two have had just as much time to get to know each other’s game. Last season they finished 5-2 as a doubles team. This season, they are 12-1, with their only loss coming from a then-No. 57 Indiana.

Two of their 12 wins also come against ranked opponents. In January, they defeated Drake’s No. 19 Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel, 6-3, and in February, they took down University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s No. 7 Byron Balkin and Ben Shklyar. Last week, Amir and Lagerlof were ranked No. 37.

“We are much more experienced than we were before,” Amir said. “We know what the others [are] going to do and not going to do.

“[We’re] experiencing playing college tennis and experiencing everything else together. We know each other very well.”