Jan. 16, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team, off to a 2-0 start, returns to action this weekend when it hosts three top-20 teams in the MLK Invitational, Saturday through Monday at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The three-day, round-robin tournament begins Saturday and runs through Monday, when campus is closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. The event features each team facing another in singles and doubles play throughout the weekend, and each team will submit a lineup of six to eight players for singles and three to four doubles teams. No team scores will be kept or team winners declared, but singles and doubles champions will be crowned at the conclusion of play Monday.
Georgia Tech will play each of its “matches” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, first meeting 2nd-ranked Oklahoma Saturday, then No. 16 Columbia Sunday and No. 8 Georgia Monday, facing its strongest competition of the year, including fall tournaments. The early 9 a.m. sessions feature Georgia vs. Columbia Saturday, Oklahoma vs. Georgia Sunday and Columbia vs. Oklahoma Monday.
The Sooners advanced to the finals of last year’s NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga., falling 4-2 in the finals to Southern California, and have the highest pre-season ranking in their history. The Bulldogs reached the round of 16 before losing to North Carolina, while the Lions fell in the round of 16 to the Trojans. All three teams are seeing their first spring competition this weekend.
“We’re honored to be bringing in three of the best teams in the nation to compete against as we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King over the weekend and into Monday,” said Tech head coach Kenny Thorne. “I feel Dr. King was a great leader in the way he brought all people together….he would have been a great coach!”
Eleven of the nation’s top 125 individual singles players will be on the courts, as well as six of the top 60 doubles teams.
Admission is free all three days. Parking is available in the McCamish Pavilion lot, Fowler Street and 8th Street all three days.
“The tennis this weekend will be the best in college,” said Thorne. “John Roddick, Andy’s brother, has done a great job coaching at Oklahoma and has basically his entire team back from last year’s NCAA finalist team. UGA is a solid top 10 team and Columbia did a great job making their first sweet 16 appearance last year with almost their same team returning for this season. We are about to find out exactly how good our team is this year at this point in time. Are we comfortable doing the right thing for a long period of time? We must do that in order to get wins this weekend. There won’t be an easy match and I love that challenge. The results only count for individuals but we will definitely feel the team atmosphere.”
Tech began the spring season last Saturday by capturing dual-match victories over Georgia Southern (6-1) and Mercer (7-0) at home. Sophomores Carlos Benito (Madrid, Spain) and Cole Fiegel (Alachua, Fla.) each won twice playing No. 4 and 5, respectively, while freshmen Christopher Eubanks (Atlanta) and Michael Kay (Atlanta) also won both their matches playing at No. 2 and 3.
Senior Eduardo Segura (Madrid, Spain), Tech’s victory leader in the fall with a 13-4 record, went 1-1 at the top spot. Freshmen Daniel Yun (Marietta, Ga.) and Elijah Melendez (Suwanee, Ga.) each one a match at No. 6. Junior Nathan Rakitt (Marietta, Ga.), Tech’s only ranked singles player at No. 49, missed both matches recovering from concussion symptoms.
2015 MLK INVITATIONAL HOSTED BY GEORGIA TECH
Ken Byers Tennis Complex, Bill Moore Indoor Courts
Saturday, January 18
9 a.m. – Georgia vs. Columbia
2 p.m. – Georgia Tech vs. Oklahoma
Sunday, January 19
9 a.m. – Oklahoma vs. Georgia
2 p.m. – Georgia Tech vs. Columbia
Monday, January 20
9 a.m. – Columbia vs. Oklahoma
2 p.m. – Georgia Tech vs. Georgia
Note – each session is structured similar to a dual match, with doubles matches followed by singles matches, but no team scores will be kept and no team winners declared. After the conclusion of play Monday, champions in singles and doubles will be recognized based on their individual records.
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.