LOS ANGELES - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its first rankings of the new year on Thursday and UCLA’s Clay Thompson earned the distinction as the No. 1 player in the men’s singles rankings. Thompson was joined in the rankings by four other UCLA singles players and one doubles team.
Thompson, from nearby Venice, Calif., is the first UCLA men’s tennis player to attain the nation’s No. 1 singles ranking since Benjamin Kohlloeffel in 2006. Kohlloeffel achieved the No. 1 ranking after winning the NCAA Singles Championship in May of that year.
Thompson is coming off of a fall season in which he posted an impressive 18-1 overall record. His only loss of the fall season came in the first round of September’s ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., an event where he went on to win the consolation singles title. Thompson followed that up with a victory at his home tournament, claiming the crown at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships at UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center. His biggest victory of the fall, however, came at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y. in early November when he won five-straight matches to become just the second UCLA player to win that title (joining back-to-back champion Kohlloeffel in 2005 and 2006).
Other ranked singles players to begin 2014 for UCLA were Marcos Giron (#11), Mackenzie McDonald (#62), Karue Sell (#64) and Gage Brymer (#120). Giron and McDonald are also ranked in doubles, checking in at No. 10 nationally.
As a team, UCLA is ranked No. 2 to start the year behind defending NCAA Champion Virginia.