Will Reynolds, above, and Will Oliver are the only two men's tennis players who were on the 2010 team that last hosted the NCAAs.
May 8, 2012
By Michael Terry, UGA Sports Communications
ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia last hosted the NCAA Tennis Championships just two years ago, but the only members of the men’s tennis team remaining from that roster are senior Will Reynolds and junior Will Oliver.
In 2010, Reynolds played three matches at No. 6 singles and Oliver played three matches at No. 3 doubles. More than 2,400 people attended each of the three matches against Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
“The atmosphere was unlike anything else for that first Florida match,” Reynolds said. “I just soaked it all in and tried to have a ton of fun. There were a lot of people there, and there were a lot of eyes on us, but it was such a cool experience.”
It’s that experience that head coach Manuel Diaz hopes that the pair of 2010 Bulldogs can prepare their teammates for.
“They will be a great resource and we’ll certainly talk about that,” Diaz said. “The mindset will have to be handling the pressure of knowing the tournament is in Athens, and all the distractions. It will be imperative that we are focused and able to concentrate on the things that will help us succeed.”
Oliver says that there’s a lot that can be learned from his and Reynolds’ experiences from two years ago, should Georgia advance to the Round of 16 and get to play on the home courts.
“We’ve tried to tell [our teammates] how it’s going to be, and what the atmosphere is like with all the people,” Oliver said. “It’s definitely more pressure, but at the same time it gives you that much more energy. Everybody is cheering for you on every point. It’s pretty cool, and I think it can really take away some of the pressure since you’re at home.”
“Some of the guys sort of know what to expect. I know Garrett [Brasseaux] and Wil [Spencer] have seen it from being in town in 2010, but it’s not the same when you’re playing,” Reynolds said. “It’s a different story when you’re out there on the court. It’d hard to describe in words.”
The 2010 Bulldogs are planning on doing whatever they can to end this season without losing again.
“We’re playing well right now,” Reynolds said. “And being at home helps, but we know that this is the NCAA tournament and every team is capable of making a run. We’ve been putting in a lot of work on and off the court and it should pay off.”
“[Playing this tournament at home] makes it that much more important,” Oliver added. “We also want to win for our seniors. They have a lot invested in this.”
Said senior Reynolds on the chance of going out a winner, “[Winning] would be a cool way to end a career. I want it so bad for [Wil] Spencer, Sadio [Doumbia] and Nacho (Ignacio Taboada), too.”
Whether on the court of not, Reynolds and Oliver will be called upon to share their experiences and prepare their teammates for what they could likely encounter.
“It’s cool that we can still give our input and hopefully help the guys in whatever way possible,” Reynolds said.
NCAA first and second round action begins this weekend. Live scoring and live video streaming will be available for all matches in the Athens Regional on Georgiadogs.com. The Georgia Tennis Live Chat will be up and running for all UGA matches. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students (college-age with ID and younger). Fans can order tickets on Georgiadogs.com or by calling the UGA ticket office at 1-877-542-1231 Mon.-Fri. between normal business hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.