Members of the Georgia men’s tennis team return to championship action this week at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men’s All-American Championships (Sep. 30-Oct. 9).The ITAs, a fall fixture in men’s tennis since 1979, is hosted this year at the University of Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Pre-qualifying began on Saturday, and the Bulldogs begin their qualifying today (Monday).
Three Georgia players enter the qualifying rounds in singles. Senior Wayne Montgomery, who checks in at No. 21 in the preseason ITA singles rankings, leads the Bulldogs alongside junior Emil Reinberg (No. 30) and sophomore Nathan Ponwith (No. 32), last year’s Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.
Over the 37 years of the ITA singles tournament, Bulldogs have secured individual titles in five of those years. The first was Mikael Pernfors in 1984, followed by the only back-to-back winner in Al Parker (1989, 90). Current ATP world No. 17 John Isner won in 2005 and in 2007, Travis Helgeson rounded out the Georgia titlists to date.
The Bulldogs also feature two highly-ranked doubles pairs in the ITA doubles draw. The pair of Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinksi enters the tournament at No. 2 nationally, while Ponwith and Reinberg form the No. 22 duo in the country. Georgia’s lone doubles ITA champions are Isner and Luis Flores in 2006.
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