The University of Georgia men’s tennis team has been selected the preseason favorite to win the 2017 Southeastern Conference Championship in a vote by league coaches, the SEC office announced on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs received 168 points in the poll, while Florida was the next closest with 151 and Kentucky came in at No. 3 with 133 total points.
“We are obviously thrilled to be chosen as the league favorite heading into the season,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “Our team does not put a lot of stock into preseason rankings, but we are honored to be chosen as the favorite in the best conference in the nation. We are excited to get started this weekend and have been busy preparing for a very challenging schedule coming up, which will help get us ready for the always tough SEC.”
Georgia, which is tied for fifth nationally in the first Oracle/ITA rankings, enters the 2017 spring season having won 15-straight conference matches and has not lost a home SEC contest since 2012 — a streak of 25 consecutive victories. The Bulldogs won their fourth-straight SEC title last season after boasting a 24-5 overall record and a perfect 12-0 mark in conference play. This year’s team seeks to become the first Georgia squad since 1971-75 to win five SEC regular season championships in a row.
Five letter winners return off of last year’s NCAA semifinals team, including Wayne Montgomery, who comes in at No. 22 in the latest Oracle/ITA rankings. Georgia also signed the No. 1 class in the country this past year and will look for contributions from its strong freshman class during the 2017 campaign.