Less than two hours before his first doubles match at the ITA All-American Championships, Mikelis Libietis was receiving an IV at the hospital while his partner, Hunter Reese, was fighting illness in his consolation singles match.
Four days later, the tandem was posing with national championship trophies signifying victory in the doubles division.
Upon arriving in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday for the tournament, Libietis – the top-ranked collegiate singles player in the country – was feeling fine until the night before his first matches.
"I woke up during the night Thursday morning, around four or five, and I couldn't sleep well and I didn't know what was wrong," Libietis said. "Then I was just trying to sleep, and I couldn't fall asleep.
"Then I woke up at seven when we needed to wake up and my stomach was really upset and I felt kind of (nauseous)."
Things only got worse for Libietis once he started playing.
"I started to play my match, and everything was coming up," Libietis said. "I started to throw up. You know, it was a bad day.
"I couldn't focus at all," he continued. "After every point I played more than six shots, I got dizzy. I was running and I had to stop because I couldn't run side to side. I was thinking all the time about how to survive that day."
Despite feeling under the weather, Libietis still managed to win his first round singles match, but lost his second round match in three sets.
After his second match, Libietis went to the hospital where he received "two big bags" of IV fluid.
Thursday was not much better for Reese.
Reese was already feeling unwell before leaving for the tournament, and his symptoms worsened Thursday.
"The mornings were always the toughest," Reese said. "My throat was pretty sore. I just had a pretty good cough. So the mornings were a little bit tough, but then as the morning progressed, I thought I was feeling a little bit better.
"Then we started to play, and I felt terrible. I thought I was going to throw up."
Reese lost his first singles match on Thursday, but ended up winning his consolation match.
Libietis returned from the hospital about 45 minutes before the pair's first doubles match, however, and was still feeling the effects of his virus.
"I felt a little bit better, but didn't feel great at all," Libietis said. "I was really tired. I was getting dizzy a lot. We just knew that we needed to fight for today and make it through today."
The pair then joined forces to come back from two breaks to win 8-6 in their first doubles match, one of the last played that night.
After an evening's rest, Libietis was feeling better, but still felt weak, while Reese had fully recovered.
On Friday, the duo won its second round match 8-3 and advanced to the semifinals with an 8-4 victory over Florida's Elliot Orkin and Gordon Watson.
Their spot in the semifinals qualified them for the National Indoor Intercollegiate Champions in New York in November, however, Libietis said he was not satisfied and remained focused on winning the tournament.
"I was like, 'If we finally got to semifinals, I really wanted to win the tournament,'" Libietis said. "I don't really care about ... New York or not. I felt like that's sometimes a problem for us that we lost so many second or third rounds in the big tournaments."
In the semifinals on Saturday, Libietis and Reese faced the 19th-ranked collegiate doubles team from TCU.
The Vols pulled it out in a tiebreaker, winning 8-7.
Following the victory against the TCU partners, they were matched up against a skilled team from UCLA in a best two out of three set match.
In an up and down match that needed another tiebreaker to separate the two teams, the Vols came out on top 2-6, 6-1, 7-6.
"After we lost the first set, we kind of changed the strategy," Reese said. "And it worked really well. We were crossing a lot of serves and just controlling the middle. It kind of took them out of their rhythm whereas in the first set, they were just ripping balls by us."
They became just the third team from Tennessee to win the doubles draw at this tournament, joining John-Patrick Smith and Boris Conkic in 2009 and Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon in 1986.
As for how the two both managed to get sick, one after the other, Reese said he did not seem to think staying in the same hotel room had to do with it.
"I hope not because I was sick first, so that would mean I gave it to him," Reese said. "I don't know. I guess it's a possibility."
The Vols will compete in their first home tournament of the year this weekend at the indoor facility at Goodfriend Tennis Center in the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.