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The Comeback King

May 9, 2017

THE FLATS – In the five years since he ‘got out’, Georgia Tech men’s tennis alumnus Kevin King has been on one helluva ride.

The highest-ranked American recruit ever to enroll in Tech’s men’s tennis program, King left as one of its best-ever doubles players, earning ITA All-American honors in 2011 and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He did so while earning his degree in mechanical engineering.

“When we recruited Kevin to play for Georgia Tech, I said he was the perfect fit,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “He wanted to play tennis at the highest level and he valued getting one of the best degrees in the nation. He excelled in both while in college.”

King has played professionally on the ITF Pro Circuit and ATP Tour following his graduation in 2012, and has earned berths in the Wimbledon championships and the BB&T Atlanta Open. His high-water marks in the ATP rankings have been No. 287 in singles (Apr. 27, 2015) and No. 114 in doubles (July 28, 2014).

King’s professional tennis career stalled in 2014 as he was sidelined by injury. With one hip surgery complete and another set for the other hip, the Peachtree City native returned home to his Georgia Tech family. In January of 2015, King rejoined the team for which he once played as a volunteer assistant coach alongside Thorne and assistant coach Derek Schwandt.

As a volunteer coach, King helped lead the No. 19 Jackets to wins over Duke, Stanford, South Carolina and Florida State over the past two seasons. He has set a tremendous example of hard work, persistence and love of the game that has rubbed off on the Jackets squad.

“As coaches, we talk a lot about simply getting a little better every day,” said Thorne. “Kevin actually lives that out each day.”

King continued his rehab while serving as an assistant coach, prepping to make his return to the courts as a professional player. As he worked his way back into the professional circuit in November 2016, King did not experience the same success of his past immediately. After a few events of not making it past the qualifiers, the perseverance he displayed as a player at Tech pulled through.

King won his first event since returning to the circuit on Sunday, May 7 in dramatic fashion. Not only did King take the singles title at the Villahermosa Open, but he also teamed up with Nicholaas Scholtz to win the doubles title as well.

King played his way through qualifiers of the Mexico F2 Futures to make it into the 32-man main draw. Currently sitting at No. 833, King battled through No. 317 and the No. 1-seed in the first round before topping No. 490, No. 575 and No. 426 on his way to the singles title.

“A decent number of players have won a futures singles event, fewer have won singles and doubles futures the same week,” said Thorne. “Maybe there is someone else who has done it after two hip surgeries, but probably no one has done all that while owning a mechanical engineering degree with honors.”

There’s no time to waste resting on his laurels, King is right back at it for the Mexico F3 Futures on May 9.

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