Jan. 15, 2014
Greetings from America’s greatest college town! It’s hard to believe the guys are back from the holiday break, the preseason rankings have been revealed, and we are just one week away from kicking off our spring season. It’s a very exciting time for us, and we hope you’re excited, too!
To recap our fall briefly, it was a very encouraging time – full of big strides made by a number of players. One player who made a significant leap since the end of the 2013 season and during the fall was Austin Smith. Austin did a fantastic job of getting fitter and improving his game over the summer, and it all paid off as he ended up leading our team in wins during the fall with 15, seven of which were against ranked opponents. He reached the quarterfinals of the All-America Championships in Tulsa, and also made a big run to the final of the SEC Fall Classic in Nashville. Additionally, Nathan Pasha won 13 matches, including titles at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships at Georgia Tech and the Southern Intercollegiate Championships here in Athens. Austin and Nathan will enter this spring ranked No. 12 and 21, respectively, and Garrett Brasseaux, Ben Wagland, and Nick Wood are also ranked in singles. Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland are ranked No. 12 in doubles to lead us in that category. And, as a team, we will start off at No. 3, which is right where we ended last season. With that as an early benchmark, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for our guys. They’ve worked incredibly hard since last season’s disappointing loss in the Final Four to UVA and are hungrier than ever!
I also want to mention something else that happened back in the fall, and that was our team awards banquet. It’s always nice to reflect on our accomplishments and honor our departing seniors (Will Oliver), and on this particular night our team surprised me by using part of the evening to celebrate my 25th season as the head coach at Georgia. I had no idea it was coming, but it was wonderful to see all my old friends and players who came back to town. It was such special night. It’s truly great to be a Georgia Bulldog!
With all that said, we kick off our spring this weekend at the Georgia Tech Invitational, and your first chance to see us in Athens will be at the ITA Kickoff Jan. 25-26 at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. The winner of that event punches a ticket to the ITA National Team Indoors, which always produces a very strong field and gives us a chance to see all the great players around the country, so mark your calendars for those early dual matches and come out and support the Dawgs!