The accolades continue to mount for sophomore Katarina Jokic as she was named 2019 ITA NCAA Division I National Player of the Year for women’s tennis, announced Monday.
Jokic, of Novi Grad, Bosnia, becomes the second Georgia women’s tennis player in program history to win the National Player of the Year Award, joining Angela Lettiere who earned the honor in 1994. Also Jokic is the second Bulldog all time to conclude the season in the top spot of the ITA singles rankings. Previously, Marissa Catlin finished the 1998 season with the No. 1 singles rankings.
The POY award comes off of last week’s news of Jokic being named one of four finalists for the Honda Award, presented by THE Collegiate Women Sports Association. The Honda Sport Award winner for tennis will be announced this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools.
“I’ve always said when you have a group focused and willing to work together as a team to achieve championships, individual awards will come our way,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said.” This is certainly the case with the well-deserved honor of Katarina Jokic winning National Player of the Year. She won an individual singles title in the fall and then continued to be an outstanding performer for us on the No. 1 singles and doubles court all spring. She has worked hard to earn the No. 1 singles ranking and National Player of the Year. I’m thrilled for her individual recognition as she has put so much into this team not only this year but since being at Georgia.”
Of the two most prestigious singles events of the collegiate season – the NCAA Championships and the ITA National Fall Championships – Jokic reached the finals of both, including winning the latter. No other player in the country reached the quarterfinals of both. The Bulldog concluded the season with a 26-6 overall singles record, including a 21-5 mark against ranked opponents. In the team dual season, she went 11-4 playing exclusively on court one. Jokic was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships after going 4-0 and clinching the final two matches to secure Georgia’s sixth all-time team title. At the final site of the NCAA Team Championships, Jokic defeated her opponent in the quarterfinals and semifinals to aid the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Championship appearance since 2000.
In the final nine days of the season, which included the NCAA Team and Individual Championships, Jokic played 15 matches, going 11-3. No other player on the men or women’s side played as many matches. She was named to NCAA All-Tournament Team at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. A day later, she was back on the court in the NCAA Singles Championships as the No. 2-seed, which an automatic All-America honor, however she left no doubt in that distinction with her run to the finals. In three of those six days of individual competition, Jokic was taxed with also participating in the doubles bracket. The No. 1 Bulldog twosome of Jokic and freshman Lourdes Carle advanced to the quarterfinals, good for another All-America nod. The three career All-America honors make Jokic the 19th Bulldog to have at least that many in program history.