"This was a very tough decision because UCLA is now home to me," said Giron, a three-year letterwinner and two-time ITA All-American. "I'm close with all of my teammates and coaches and that makes it especially difficult. But I think that after winning NCAAs that this is the right time. I have an opportunity that is just too good to turn down. Playing professional tennis has always been a big dream of mine."
Giron, who was the nation's top recruit when he signed with UCLA in 2011, enjoyed a stellar three-year career with the Bruins. He ended this year with a 30-5 overall singles record and was ranked in the top 10 nationally for nearly the entire season. He played either No. 1 or No. 2 singles in the lineup all year, leading the team in wins over ranked opponents with 18. Giron entered last month's the NCAA Singles Championships as the No. 2 seed, eventually winning six-straight matches to become UCLA's 11th NCAA Singles Champion and first since Benjamin Kohlloeffel in 2006. Giron's run culminated with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Pepperdine's Alex Sarkissian in the final on May 26 in Athens, Ga. For his efforts he was named ITA National Player of the Year following the NCAA Tournament.
"We wish Marcos all the best as he embarks on this new phase of his career," said Martin, who also turned professional after winning the NCAA Singles title as a freshman at UCLA in 1975. "It's an exciting time for him and we look forward to following his progress on the pro tour and supporting him from Westwood. I believe that Marcos has all the tools necessary to have success as a professional tennis player."
In addition to his stellar singles play, Giron was also a standout in doubles, teaming with freshman Mackenzie McDonald this year to make up the Bruins' No. 1 team. The duo ended the season ranked No. 11 nationally, reaching the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships. Giron also ended the season ranked No. 45 in doubles with sophomore Karue Sell. Giron's career statistics include a 92-23 singles record and a 62-34 mark in doubles play.
"Over the last three years, the coaches, Billy and Grant (Chen), have done a tremendous job," added Giron. "Without a doubt, UCLA has been a big part of this next step. The player I was three years ago and the player I am today don't even compare. I've been able to mature both on and off the court here and that is why (UCLA) will always be home to me. I'll always be a Bruin and keep UCLA close to my heart."
The loss of Giron means that the Bruins head into next season having lost the nation's top 2 players of 2014, as No. 2 ranked Clay Thompson recently completed his eligibility. UCLA, however, returns three freshmen standouts from 2014 in McDonald, Gage Brymer and Joseph Di Giulio, along with Sell, who will be a junior, and senior Dennis Mkrtchian. The Bruins also add U.S. junior standouts Martin Redlicki and Austin Rapp.