Men’s Tennis Inks Two For 2021
BERKELEY – The California men's tennis program signed Alex Chang and Carl Emil Overbeck to National Letters of Intent, Director of Men's Tennis Peter Wright announced Thursday.
Overbeck hails from Copenhagen, Denmark, while Chang – who will have a much shorter trip to get to Cal next year – is from Berkeley.
"We're truly excited to announce we will be adding two national champions [USA and Denmark] to our men's tennis team in 2021," Wright said. "Our entire coaching staff is enthusiastic about working with Carl Emil and Alex as they continue their tennis journey in Berkeley. In addition to both being top-notch tennis players and students, what stood out to us in the recruiting process was how they emphasized the importance of team chemistry and how they wanted to contribute to the team's success in the future."
The 6-3 Overbeck is an internationally experienced player who has a career-best ITF junior combined ranking of 250. Playing in the 2019 European Junior Championships in Switzerland – where he reached the doubles third round and fell in singles to a highly ranked opponent in the first round – was his favorite sports moment. He's had success at the junior ITF level, including winning the doubles title in the J2 Nonthaburi, a grade 2 tournament in Thailand, in 2019, capturing the singles crown at the High Coast Sweden Junior Open in 2018 and reaching numerous other finals.
After succeeding in the Danish junior age groups – Overbeck was a Danish junior champion from the U12 to U18 levels – he is now ranked 12th in Denmark among senior men's players. In the elite division of the Denmark senior national championships, the 19-year-old Overbeck won the team gold medal in September of 2020.
"We have a long tradition of talented players from Scandinavia, and Carl Emil certainly adds to that legacy," Wright said. "His extensive international success and the experience he's had training with and competing against some of the top players in the world make him an ideal fit for our program.'
"I'm very excited to join Berkeley because of the high academic level as well as the level of the tennis team – both the players and the coaches," Overbeck said. "I've got the best impression of Peter and the ambitions of the tennis team. I'm proud and honored to become a Bear! Go Bears!"
A student-athlete at Berkeley High School, Chang is ranked as the nation's 47th-best recruit by TennisRecriting.net – he's been ranked as high as 26th in 2020 – and as the 11th-best recruit from the state of California. The five-star recruit – who turns 17 later in November – has career-best USTA national boys' 16 rankings of sixth in singles and eighth in doubles.
He calls winning the boys' 16 singles title in the 2019 USTA International Spring Championships his favorite moment in sports. Chang has had several other momentous results, including winning the 2019 USTA National Level 3 Boys' 16 singles and doubles championships and capturing USTA national doubles titles in 2017 and 2018. He's also competed for the USTA NorCal Team from 2015-19.
Chang has a prior connection to Cal in grandfather Bob Buchanan, who is a professor emeritus in the University of California's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.
"I chose Cal because it has top-notch academics as well as athletics," Chang said. "Cal fits that mold as a university, and since Cal has always been close by me it has always felt like home."
"There's no doubt having a Berkeley native play for us will bring even more excitement to our matches," Wright added. "Alex has already demonstrated his ability to excel at the highest national level, and we're looking for him to be at the center of the action at the Hellman Tennis Complex for years to come."
The current Bears are coming off of a 5-3 record from the abbreviated 2019-20 season and feature a talented cast that includes Yuta Kikuchi, who is ranked 36th in the Oracle ITA singles poll, Jack Molloy, who is ranked 59th, and Paul Barretto, who's ranked 79th.