Pac-12 Men's and Women's Tennis Championships preview
THE LOGISTICS: The Pac-12’s eight men’s teams and 11 women’s teams travel to Ojai, Calif. Wednesday April 24- Sunday April 28 to decide the league’s women’s singles and doubles champions in addition to the men’s team champion. This will be the second year the men’s tournament will be played in a team tournament bracket. For the women, the 32-player singles draw consists of three players from each of the top 10 schools that sponsor women’s tennis, and two players from the 11th-place team, based on the regular-season standings. The 16-team women’s doubles draw will have one doubles team from each of the 11 schools and five additional teams selected by the draw committee. For the men, the Pac-12 hosts the team tennis tournament for the second year to determine the automatic qualifier for the NCAA championships. Teams will be seeded based on won-lost percentages during regular-season Conference play. On Wednesday, matches between seed Nos. 5 and 8 and Nos. 6 and 7 will open play. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will play the winners, respectively, on Thursday. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds advance directly to the semifinal round on Friday.
WHAT & WHERE: Pac-12 competition will be held in conjunction with the 113th Annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. The Pac-12 men will compete at Libbey Park in Ojai for all rounds. The Pac-12 women will play the first two rounds at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club, and then will play the semifinals and finals at Libbey Park. The men’s team championship match will be played at Libbey Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT. The women’s singles championship match is scheduled for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday at Libbey Park and will be followed by the doubles final at 2 p.m. PT.
BRACKETS: The men’s bracket will be finalized on Monday, April 22, while the women’s singles and doubles draw will be available on Tuesday, April 23. Both brackets will be available on the Pac-12 Tennis Championships site.
TELEVISION COVERAGE: Pac-12 Networks will be televising the Pac-12 Tennis Championships. The women’s singles and doubles finals as well as the men’s team finals will be televised. The women’s singles will be shown live on Sunday, April 28 at 10 a.m. PT. The women’s doubles finals and the men’s team finals will both be shown on tape delay. The men’s team finals will be shown on Sunday, April 28 at 5 p.m. PT and the women’s doubles finals will be shown on Sunday, April 28 at 8 p.m. PT.
Student/Senior (over 60): $20
Child (under 18): $15
General Admission: $20
Student/Senior (over 60): $10
Child (under 18): $10
RULING THE RANKINGS: Pac-12 men’s tennis saw five teams in the rankings every week since Jan. 22, except for the week of Feb. 5 where Oregon fell out of the top 75. UCLA, USC and California were ranked in the top 25 the entire time. Pac-12 women’s teams saw as many as 10 teams ranked at once in the ITA rankings. USC, UCLA and California were ranked in the top 25 since Jan. 22. Stanford and Arizona State both cracked the top 25 during multiple weeks in the season. Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Washington State were all ranked during the season.
MEN AND WOMEN TOP THE POLLS: Eight Pac-12 schools have both a men’s and women’s program. Among these eight schools, four have had both their men’s and women’s program ranked in the top 25 during the same week. UCLA’s programs were both in the top five for eight consecutive polls, while USC’s teams stayed atop the first five rankings for six polls while staying in the top 10 the entire time. Stanford saw both teams among the top 25 for the second half of January.
OJAI HISTORY: The Pac-12 Championships will keep with tradition as the featured event at this year’s 113th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, which attracts 1,600 of the best college, junior and open players from the western states. The annual event, started by William Thacher in 1896, has been played at the same site and interrupted only five times. If this tournament, put on entirely by volunteer efforts on public and privately owned courts, seems an unlikely place to see championship quality players, consider who has appeared here: Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, Michael Chang, Rick Leach, Tracy Austin, Billy Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and the Bryan twins. These tennis greats are among more than 85 former players at The Ojai who have gone on to win one or more Grand Slam event as professional tennis players, all of whom are listed on Libbey Park’s “Wall of Fame.”
HOW TO GET TO OJAI: Ojai Valley Athletic Club and Libbey Park are located at 409 Fox Street, Ojai, California 93023. See the Ojai tournament website here.
MEN IN THE RANKINGS: Eighteen Pac-12 singles players are ranked in the ITA top-125 national men’s singles rankings (as of April 16). Six Conference teams are represented by ranked individuals, with USC junior Emilio Gomez leading the Pac-12 men at No. 4. He’s joined in the top 25 by teammate Ray Sarmiento at No 14, Washington’s Kyle McMorrow at No. 18 , and a duo of UCLA players, Marcos Giron at No. 20 and Adrien Puget at No. 22.
Twelve Pac-12 men’s doubles teams are in the ITA top-90 national doubles rankings, with a ranked pair representing five different schools. USC’s No. 32-ranked tandem of Ray Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann is the Conference’s highest-ranked pair.
WOMEN IN THE RANKINGS: The Pac-12 women occupy 21 slots on the ITA’s top-125 singles rankings through April 16. The Pac-12 is in third among all conferences with teams ranked in the top 25 with five teams ranked. The Pac-12 is behind the SEC and ACC, which both have six. Seven conference teams are represented by ranked individuals, with USC sophomore Sabrina Santamaria leading the Pac-12 with a No. 2 ranking.
In doubles, eight Pac-12 women’s programs are represented as 13 duos hold spots in the ITA top-90 national doubles rankings. USC’s pairing of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria is the highest-ranked doubles team in the Conference at No. 2.