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UCLA Men's Tennis Player Dennis Novikov Turns Professional
By: UCLA Athletics
LOS ANGELES - UCLA men's tennis player Dennis Novikov, who played No. 1 singles and doubles for the Bruins in their run to the NCAA Final this past May, has elected to turn professional and will not be returning to the team for the 2013-14 season. Novikov informed the Bruin coaching staff on Thursday morning following his first-round qualifying loss to Itay's Andrea Arnaboldi at the U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y.

Novikov, who would've been a junior at UCLA in the fall, arrived in Westwood in April of 2012, helping the team reach the semifinals at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. Following that season, he went on to capture the singles and doubles titles at the USTA Boys 18s National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., earning main draw wild cards for both draws at the 2012 U.S. Open. Despite reaching the second round of both draws in New York, Novikov decided to return to UCLA for his sophomore season in 2013, playing at the very top of the Bruin lineup.

In two seasons at UCLA, Novikov compiled an overall singles record of 30-18. He was 34-11 in doubles. He ended last season ranked No. 26 in singles and No. 20 in doubles (w/Marcos Giron) in the Final ITA Rankings.

"I really enjoyed my two seasons at UCLA," said Novikov. "(UCLA) has been my home and will always hold a special place with me. I want to thank my teammates and coach Billy Martin for the amazing opportunity to play for the Bruins. This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make but it has always been a dream of mine to become a professional tennis player and I feel that this is the right time to pursue it."

Added Martin, "Dennis was an important part of our program and someone who put us in contention for a national championship both of the years he was here. We wish him the best of luck as he embarks on a professional career."

Despite the loss of Novikov, UCLA returns five of six starters from the 2013 NCAA Runner-Up team. The Bruins will also add three top juniors this fall in Gage Brymer, Makenzie McDonald and Joseph DiGuilio.

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