Jan. 9, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech opens its 2015 spring dual season Saturday by hosting Georgia Southern and Mercer in a double-header at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The Yellow Jackets host the Eagles at 12 noon, and come back to take on Mercer at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, and parking is available along Fowler Street and in the McCamish Pavilion parking lot.
Tech begins its 17th season under head coach Kenny Thorne with a full and healthy roster looking to improve upon last year’s 7-15 team, which ended the season so short-handed due to injuries that the Jackets could not field a complete singles lineup. The Eagles are coming off a 5-18 spring of 2014, while Mercer went 9-17 last season.
Thorne and assistant coach Derek Schwandt went out and signed one of the top 15 recruiting classes in the nation – four freshmen – to re-populate a roster that returns upperclassmen Eduardo Segura, a senior from Madrid, Spain; Nathan Rakitt, a junior from Marietta, Ga.; Casey Kay, a junior from Atlanta; Carlos Benito, a sophomore from Madrid, Spain; and Cole Fiegel, a sophomore from Alachua, Fla.
“The emotions are going to be high. We need to get down to where we don’t let emotions take over and we do our fundamentals well,” Thorne said. “I think the upperclassmen can draw from some of the energy [the freshmen] are going to bring and hopefully they can mentor them into the tough moments better.”
Segura had an outstanding fall season, going 13-4 in singles with a 9-0 start and the B division title at the Southern Intercollegiate, while teaming with Benito for a 5-3 doubles mark. Rakitt comes into the spring ranked 49th nationally in singles after closing the fall by winning all five of his matches at the Bulldog Scramble.
Among the freshmen, Christopher Eubanks of Atlanta compiled a 9-6 mark in singles and a 9-4 slate in doubles, winning the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational in both. Michael Kay, another freshman from Atlanta, went 11-6 in singles and 7-3 in doubles.
Saturday’s matches begin a non-conference slate in which the Yellow Jackets will play all but one contest (Feb. 15 at Auburn) at home. With temperatures not expected to rise much above 40 degrees Saturday, both matches will be played indoors.
“Home-court advantage is huge in tennis,” said Thorne. “You’re talking about a court surface that can change drastically from school to school. One court can be fast and they’re all hard courts but they can have more sand in them, which can slow them down. You can have different speeds, which can vary quite a bit. The bounce of the ball can vary so playing at home matters.”
About Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is in its 17th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 14 times. Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_MTEN). For more information on Tech men’s tennis, visit Ramblinwreck.com.