Five Lady Bulldogs from the UGA women’s tennis team will be competing in the ITA National Fall Championships starting Wednesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.
Sophomores Elena Christofi and Marta Gonzalez along with freshman Katarina Jokic will be in the 64-player singles draw while the Bulldogs have a pair of duos in the 32-team doubles draw. Christofi and freshman Morgan Coppoc, ranked 34th nationally, earned their spot in the doubles by reaching the finals of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships last month. The Jokic-Mariana Gould tandem received a wildcard into the field as they are 10-2 this fall.
“I think now that our fall season is coming to the end, this will be an accumulation of all the results we’ve put together up to this point,” said Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace. “I am so excited to have three players in the singles draws and two teams in the doubles draw. It’s a great showing for our team. You certainly have to feel good about the results we have obtained through the fall but now we have to go out and not just be happy that we are there but we have to win matches and do some damage while we’re out there. We have to take the confidence we have and the match experience we’ve gained and give it everything we’ve got.”
For singles, Jokic qualified automatically by winning the ITA Southeast Regional recently in Athens. She boasts a team-best 18-2 mark. Gonzalez received an at-large bid based on her 15-3 fall record while Christofi, who is 6-4 but preseason ranked 10th nationally, garnered a wild card. Last year, Christofi tallied a team-best 29-7 singles record and was the ITA Southeast Regional Rookie of the Year.
“I think the reason I have been so focused and had a better fall season is because this year I am a sophomore,” said Gonzalez. “Last year when I came in August from Spain, everything was new for me, I had to learn the language and the culture. I feel like this year I am more settled down and comfortable with myself off the court which is causing more confidence and momentum on the court.”
The Oracle/ITA tournament is the only intercollegiate event to feature competitors from all five divisions competing for a national championship. The tournament site is home to the BNP Paribas Open, one of the premier professional tournaments in the world, which takes place in March.