Five UGA men’s tennis players have been awarded bids to the singles and doubles portion of the 2017 NCAA Championships.
Junior Wayne Montgomery, freshman Nathan Ponwith and sophomore Emil Reinberg are each at-large selections for this year’s singles championship, while Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski are automatic qualifiers into this year’s doubles tournament. The individual singles and doubles championships will be played from May 24-29 in Athens, following the team portion of the tournament, which will also be played in Athens from May 18-23.
Loeb and Zielisnki secure All-America honors by being seeded No. 1 and are the second Bulldog tandem in three years to earn the top seed, joining Ben Wagland and Austin Smith in 2015. Previously, the last Georgia duo to earn the No. 1 overall seed was John Isner and Luis Flores in 2007. Loeb and Zielinski are 22-9 overall this season, including a 15-8 mark at the No. 1 doubles court for the Bulldogs. The freshman/sophomore tandem have defeated three top-5 teams and were both named to the 2017 All-SEC First Team.
Ponwith will enter postseason play as the SEC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-SEC selection. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native plays at the No.1 singles court for the Bulldogs and boasts a 20-11 singles record for the year. During regular season play, Ponwith broke the league record with five SEC Freshman of the Week honors in a single season.
Right behind Ponwith in the Georgia lineup late in the season has been Montgomery. The Somerset West, South Africa native has been named first-team All-SEC in each of his three seasons in Athens. Last year, Montgomery raced through the NCAA Tournament and placed on the 2017 All-Tournament Team at the No. 2 singles court. This year, Montgomery is 27-16 in singles and teams with Walker Duncan for an 11-1 record at the No. 3 doubles court.
Reinberg has had the hot hand as of late for the Bulldogs. After going 3-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles during last week’s SEC tournament, the Atlanta native earned Most Valuable Player honors en route to placing on the All-SEC second team. Overall, Reinberg leads the team with 32 singles wins this year.
Matchups for the individual tournaments will be announced during the team portion. A total of 64 players will participate in singles in addition to 32 doubles teams. Georgia players have won the NCAA singles title four times: Mikael Pernfors in 1984 and 1985, and Matias Boeker in 2001 and 2002. Pernfors beat teammate George Bezecny for the crown in 1985. The Bulldogs have won three NCAA doubles titles including Ola Malmqvist and Allen Miller in 1983, Boeker and Travis Parrott in 2001, and John Isner and Antonio Ruiz in 2005.