Jan. 13, 2004
UCLA Opens 2004 Season This Wednesday Against UC Irvine . . .
For the second year in a row, No. 7 UCLA will kickoff the season at home against UC Irvine, as the Bruins and Anteaters will do battle at the Los Angeles Tennis Center this Wednesday beginning at 1:30 p.m. UCLA won last year's opener 7-0 and leads the all-time series 27-2. Wednesday's match will be the season opener for UCI as well. This weekend, the Bruins will focus on the Sherwood Collegiate Cup, Fri.-Sun. at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Who's Back, Who's Gone . . .
Headed by senior Tobias Clemens, UCLA returns five players who helped the Bruins reach the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Clemens, listed at No. 12 in the latest ITA Rankings, is joined by juniors Chris Lam and Alberto Francis. Lam is ranked No. 18 to start the year. Chris Surapol and Aaron Yovan are also returning for their sophomore seasons. Lost to graduation are Erfan Djahangiri, Rodrigo Grilli and Lassi Ketola. In addition, 2003 Pac-10 Singles Champion Marcin Matkowski, who would have been a senior this year, has opted to turn professional.
New Faces . . .
This year's team features several newcomers who are expected to step in and contribute. Junior Kris Kwinta (Poznan, Poland), sophomore Luben Pampoulov (Dornbirn, Austria) and freshman Philipp Gruendler (Weil Am Rhein, Germany) all figure to see significant action in the lineup. Kwinta is ranked No. 78 nationally while Pampoulov, who was in school and sat out last year, will not be eligible to compete until April. All three players were top international standouts in their respective countries.
UCLA in the Preseason Rankings . . .
UCLA checks in at No. 7 in the Preseason ITA Rankings released Tuesday. Defending NCAA Champion Illinois is ranked No. 1. The Illini are followed by Baylor, Florida, Vanderbilt, Stanford and Mississippi. Individually, Tobias Clemens is ranked No. 12 and is followed by No. 18 Chris Lam, No. 78 Kris Kwinta and No. 88 Alberto Francis. In doubles, Clemens and Lam are ranked No. 23, while Francis and Kwinta check in at No. 36.
ITA Top-25 (Jan. 13)
1. Illinois 2. Baylor 3t. Florida 3t. Vanderbilt 5. Stanford 6. Mississippi 7. UCLA 8. Duke 9. Texas A&M 10. Kentucky 11. Washington 12. California 13. Texas 14. VCU 15. Minnesota 16. Tulane 17. Ohio State 18. TCU 19. Louisiana State 20. Alabama 21. USC 22. Oklahoma State 23. Georgia 24. Rice 25. South Carolina
Bruins and Trojans to Battle on TV . . .
Fox Sports Net has decided to air a tape-delayed broadcast of the UCLA/USC match on Mar. 2. The match, which will be played at USC's Marks Tennis Stadium, will air on Mar. 6 at 3:00 p.m. UCLA won last year's TV showdown at the LATC, 7-0.
UCLA Home Matches Live Via the Internet . . .
All UCLA home matches can be followed live at UCLA's official athletic website www.uclabruins.com. Fans can access the matches by clicking on the "Live Stats" link in the Events Calendar on the front page or by going into the men's tennis schedule. There is also a link on the men's tennis page.
Head Coach Billy Martin . . .
The 1996 ITA National Coach of the Year and UCLA's 1975 NCAA singles champion, Billy Martin, owns a 230-44 (.839) record in his 11th season as head coach at UCLA. He has led the Bruins into the NCAA Tournament in each of his 10 seasons, guiding the team to seven top-4 finishes, including trips to the finals in 1996 and '99. UCLA has also won four Pac-10 titles during his tenure. Coach Martin was inducted into the ITA Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996. To this very day he is still regarded as one of the best junior players in the history of the sport. He captured the 1973 and '74 singles titles at Junior Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Junior Orange Bowl tournaments. Just this past year, Inside Tennis Magazine ran an article that named him "Junior Player of the Century." As a professional, Martin defeated such top players as Ken Rosewall (twice), Stan Smith, John Newcombe, Roscoe Tanner and Harold Soloman.