No. 23 Men's Tennis Visits Texas A&M for ITA Kickoff Weekend
The No. 23 UCLA men's tennis team is in College Station, Texas for ITA Kickoff Weekend, which will be played over two days at Texas A&M's George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Bruins take on the host and 19th-ranked Aggies Saturday at 12 p.m. PT. The field also features No. 12 Arizona and Texas Tech. Those teams will meet at the same time. Simultaneous matchups Sunday at 12 p.m. will determine which team will earn a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships field, as well as a consolation winner from Saturday's non-advancing squads.
Live streaming for all matches on the stadium side of George P. Mitchell Tennis Center – including Saturday's contest between UCLA and Texas A&M – will be available HERE. Live scoring all four of the weekend's matches will be found HERE.
LAST TIME OUT
UCLA began the dual-match portion of its 2021-22 schedule with an emphatic win Tuesday, defeating Saint Mary's by a 7-0 score at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins dropped just one doubles match – a result that came after the opening point was already secured – on the day. Straight-set decisions across the singles courts included debut wins by freshmen Alexander Hoogmartens, Karl Lee and Giacomo Revelli. Senior Patrick Zahraj turned in the clinching victory.
UCLA VS. TEXAS A&M, ARIZONA/TEXAS TECH
UCLA holds an all-time record of 7-1 against Texas A&M. The most recent meeting between the programs came during the 2020 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, when the Aggies turned in a 4-1 consolation win for their only victory in the series. A possible Sunday matchup with Pac-12 foe Arizona would be the 77th all-time clash between the programs. The Bruins would try to improve upon a 74-2 record, though the Wildcats would be in search of their second victory in as many tries. Billy Martin's teams are 4-0 versus Texas Tech. His 2015 Bruins knocked off the Red Raiders twice, including a 4-0 decision in the second round of the NCAA Championships at Los Angeles Tennis Center.
UCLA took part in five tournaments during the fall. Stefan Leustian racked up a team-best eight singles wins, recording quarterfinal-round finishes at the SoCal Intercollegiate Championships and the ITA Southwest Regional Championships. Alexander Hoogamartens knocked off a nationally-ranked counterpart, No. 70 Lleyton Cronje of UCF, in his debut, and went on to beat another, No. 117 Daniel De Jonge of Pepperdine, at the ITA Southwest Regionals. He finished the year with a 4-2 singles record. Giacomo Revelli and Patrick Zahraj teamed to make the ITA Southwest Regionals doubles final round. Their three wins tops on the team during the fall.
IN THE RANKINGS
UCLA is ranked No. 23 in the latest ITA coaches poll, released Jan. 26. Individually, two Bruins made their debuts on the first singles list (Dec. 8, 2021), as Alexander Hoogmartens is No. 41 and Stefan Leustian is No. 96 after standout fall campaigns. As a team, the Bruins completed the 2020-21 season slotted at No. 25.
2020-21 IN REVIEW
The 2020-21 Bruins went 13-7, earning a spot in the program's 44th NCAA tournament in as many opportunities. Shorthanded for a majority of the season, a near-full-strength group won eight of nine matches played from March 2-April 6. During that stretch, UCLA turned in 4-3 victories versus Stanford (March 22) and at Arizona State (March 26), with Govind Nanda and Mathew Tsolakyan the last men standing in those contests, respectively. Keegan Smith logged the most singles wins on the team, going 13-2 before his season was cut short. Bryce Pereira accumulated a team-best 10 doubles triumphs, playing with three different partners. Smith was named to the All-Pac-12 first team, while Nanda was voted to the second team. Drew Baird earned honorable mention acclaim. Smith was ranked No. 55 by the ITA among singles players, while Baird and Nanda formed the No. 46 doubles tandem, to finish the season.
The Bruins' core of returners is headlined by junior Drew Baird, who posted eight singles results each on Courts 2 and 3. Six seniors with dual-match experience – Roscoe Bellamy, Eric Hahn, Bryce Pereira, Mathew Tsolakyan, Max Wild and Patrick Zahraj -- are also back. Pereira, who a team-high 10 doubles wins in 2020-21, returns for a fifth year. Also back are redshirt junior Blaine Hovenier and sophomores Stefan Leustian and Timothy Li.
Seniors Lucas Bellamy (no records in 2020-21), Ben Goldberg (9-8 singles, 3-0 doubles), Connor Hance (0-1 singles, 1-0 doubles), Connor Rapp (3-2 doubles) and Keegan Smith (13-2 singles, 8-6 doubles), as well as graduate student Sam Feit (11-6 singles, 4-2 doubles), moved on after the end of the 2020-21 season. Govind Nanda (8-4 singles, 5-5 doubles) also left following his junior campaign to pursue a full-time career in professional tennis. Though he exhausted his eligibility after using the extra year afforded by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldberg remains with the program in the position of volunteer assistant coach.
The UCLA roster features freshmen Jeffrey Fradkin, Alexander Hoogmartens, Karl Lee and Giacomo Revelli. Fradkin (New York, N.Y.), a 5-Star recruit according to TennisRecruiting.net, was the Boys' 14 Combined No. 1 player for the USTA Eastern Section in 2016 and captured the ITF J4 Guatemala singles title in 2019. Hoogmartens (Beersel, Belgium) teamed with Jeffrey von Der Schulenburg to win the ITF J1 Bradenton (Eddie Herr ITF) doubles title in 2019 and participated in the Roland-Garros and Australian Open junior tournaments in 2020. Lee (Sacramento, Calif.), a Blue Chip prospect who was named the top player in his class by TennisRecruiting.net in 2017, collected the 2020 UTR Newport Beach (Calif.) Open singles title. Revelli (London, England) advanced to the ITF M25 singles second round in 2021 and qualified for singles main draws at the M25 Calabasas, CA, M15 Warmbad-Villach and M25 Grodzisk Mazowiecki events the same year.
HEAD COACH BILLY MARTIN
Head coach Billy Martin, who became the program's all-time leader in head-coaching wins in 2019, is the longest-tenured active coach at UCLA. In his 29th year as head coach and 39th campaign on staff, Martin holds a record of 618-135 (.821) at the helm. He guided the 2005 Bruins to the program's 16th NCAA team title and just three Martin-led squads have finished outside the top five at the season-ending NCAA Championships. Benjamin Kohlloeffel (2006), Marcos Giron (2014) and Mackenzie McDonald (2016) have earned NCAA singles titles on Martin's watch, while UCLA has become a frequent landing spot for doubles champions of late. In addition to 1996 winners Justin Gimelstob and Srdjan Muskatirovic, three of the last four titleholders (McDonald/Martin Redlicki in 2016, Redlicki/Evan Zhu in 2018 and Maxime Cressy/Keegan Smith in 2019 have called Westwood home.