Jan. 10, 2014
THE FLATS – With three letterwinners returning and looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013 spring season, Georgia Tech begins the 2014 spring dual match season with a pair of home court matches Saturday against Georgia Southern (12 noon) and Stetson (5 p.m.) at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off an 8-16 campaign last spring and have four new players. The Eagles were 11-9 overall last year, 6-4 in the Southern Conference, while the Hatters were 15-4 with a 6-2 mark in the Atlantic Sun.
Admission is free to both matches, but because of Tech’s men’s basketball game at noon Saturday, parking along Fowler Street, 8th Street and the McCamish Pavilion lot are restricted to permit holders for the basketball game. Fans wishing to attend the Georgia Southern tennis match can park for a fee at Peters Parking Deck at 4th and Fowler Streets, the Klaus Deck on Ferst Drive behind the baseball stadium, and at the State Street Deck (10th and State Streets). The restricted areas will be free and clear, however, for the Stetson match.
“I don’t know how much can be said until we get on court and evaluate ourselves,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “We have a team that is passionate and dedicated to doing the right thing on the court. We have stressed a fearless pursuit of solid fundamental tennis. Only competition can show where we are in that process. It will be great to finally get going this weekend against Georgia Southern and Stetson.”
Nathan Rakitt, a sophomore from Marietta, Ga., leads the group of returnees for Thorne, who begins his 16th spring at the helm. Rakitt led the Yellow Jackets with 22 singles victories as a freshman and was 9-6 in the fall. Also back from the spring lineup are junior Eduardo Segura of Madrid, Spain, 11-16 last year playing in the middle of the order, and sophomore Anish Sharma of Alpharetta, Ga., who was 8-21.
Thorne expects a big boost from his newcomer group, which includes Carlos Benito, a freshman from Madrid, Spain who went 11-7 in the fall, and sophomore Casey Kay of Atlanta, a transfer from Georgia who went 4-2 in singles in the fall with a significant win over a ranked player from his former school. Also in the lineup will be freshman Cole Fiegel of Alachua, Fla., who went 6-7 in the fall in singles.
Tech is utilizing the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s experimental scoring format this year in which all matches will feature “no-ad” scoring, and all sets will have a tiebreaker when the score reaches 5-all. In doubles, matches are played to six rather than eight.
“Double headers are tough but we need the competition,” said Thorne. “We are playing a new scoring format for the beginning of the season which should shorten the match times which is good on double header days. Everybody is simply looking forward to getting on the court.”
About Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is in its 16th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 14 times.