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UCLA Men Team News
No. 7 UCLA to Host Saint Mary's This Weekend
Saturday, 02/02/2019

The No. 7 UCLA men's tennis team is home for a second straight week, with Saint Mary's set to visit Los Angeles Tennis Center Saturday. Previously scheduled as part of a doubleheader with BYU, match time between the Bruins and Gaels is to be determined, dependent on weather. Live stats will be available at
No makeup date has been announced for the postponed match.
The Bruins sewed up their birth into next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a pair of ITA Kick-Off Weekend wins at LATC. On Friday, UCLA's top-court trio of Maxime Cressy, Keegan Smith and Govind Nanda stole the show, with each player notching a straight-set victory to seal a 4-1 win over Indiana. The Bruins claimed the doubles point, while the Hoosiers lone win came on an injury retirement. The next day, San Diego struck first after an intense doubles battle on Court 3. Singles play was a different story, however, as UCLA rolled to victory with four straight-set triumphs. Mathew Tsolakyan turned in the first dual-match win of his career to get things started, while Cressy Nanda and Smith followed suit. Smith clinched both wins. The doubles pair of Cressy and Smith won each of its matches.
UCLA holds an all-time record of 4-0 against Saint Mary's. The Bruins outscored the Gaels by a 24-1 margin during a four-year stretch from 2012 through 2015. In the teams' last meeting, at LATC, UCLA dropped just one set on the way to a 7-0 victory. Gage Brymer clinched the overall decision with a straight-set win on Court 2.
Cressy picked up where he left off after a breakout 2017-18, convincingly defending the top court in singles and doubles action during ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The senior defeated No. 117 Gui Osorio of San Diego, 6-2, 6-4, in a pivotal decision that gave UCLA a 2-1 lead on its way to an ITA Indoors berth. He also defeated Indiana's Antonio Cembellin, 6-2, 6-1, in his top-court debut one day earlier. In doubles play, the pair of Cressy and Keegan Smith was first off the courts each day, topping Patrick Fletchall-Brandon Lam of Indiana and Osorio-Nico Borter of USD by identical 6-3 scores.
With its two ITA Kick-Off wins, UCLA has captured 47 consecutive on-campus matches dating back to the 2014-15 season. The Bruins won all 16 of their matches at LATC in 2018, outscoring opponents by an 82-8 margin. They tallied 12 sweeps in those matches and never surrendered more than two points. Including a pair of NCAA Championships triumphs, UCLA went 16-0 at Sunset Canyon Tennis Courts as construction moved them out of LATC in 2017. The Bruins also held an unblemished home mark in 2016, as they won all 11 of their matches at LATC.
2017-18 IN REVIEW
The Bruins turned in one of the finest seasons put together by a Billy Martin-coached team, posting 30 wins for the first time in his 25 years at the helm. The Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champions won 19 consecutive matches down the stretch—including an 8-0 record in conference play—before bowing out against Ohio State in the NCAA Championships semifinal round. Redlicki (Singles Player of the Year), Redlicki-Zhu (Doubles Team of the Year), Smith (Freshman of the Year) and Martin (Coach of the Year) swept the Pac-12 year-end awards. The year of tremendous team success ended with standout individual performances, as Redlicki-Zhu won the 13 NCAA doubles title in program history. Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith reached the doubles semifinal round, while Redlicki made the NCAA Singles Championships final four.
Senior team captains Redlicki, Staggs and Austin Rapp leave big shoes to fill. Evan Zhu has also departed to pursue a professional career. Redlicki, who played exclusively at the No. 1 spots in singles and doubles action, spent a majority of his final season slotted at No. 1 in the Oracle/ITA singles rankings. Rapp and Zhu joined Redlicki in earning ITA All-America honors for their doubles play, as Rapp-Keegan Smith nearly made it an all-Bruin national final. Zhu held down the No. 2 singles spot behind Redlicki en route to Second-Team All-Pac-12 recognition, while Staggs racked up 23 singles triumphs, playing predominantly on Court 4.
Senior Cressy and sophomore Smith return to the Bruins after breakout 2018 showings. A team-high six of Cressy's 33 singles victories came in a clinching fashion and the versatile native of France also contributed 23 doubles wins. He achieved a conference-best three Pac-12 Player of the Week nods along the way. The only Bruin with more singles triumphs than Cressy was Smith, who debuted with a 40-7 mark. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year achieved All-America status from the ITA after falling just short of the final round at the NCAA Doubles Championships. Cressy and Smith went a combined 32-2 in singles matches played from Feb. 19 through May 20. Connor Hance (18-8 singles) and Bryce Pereira (24-12 doubles) are also back after standout freshman efforts. Lucas Bellamy, Ben Goldberg and Connor Rapp round out the list of returners.
Seven freshmen—Nanda, Roscoe Bellamy, Eric Hahn, Blaine Hovenier, Mathew Tsolakyan, Max Wild and Patrick Zahraj—join the fold in 2018-19. Bellamy (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Laurel Springs School), brother of teammate Lucas, was the top-ranked player nationally in the Boys' 12 and 14 divisions. Hahn (Fullerton, Calif./Sunny Hills HS) earned a spot in the US Open Junior Tennis Championships after finishing fifth at the 2018 Boys' 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. Hovenier (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall) was twice named to the Gold Coast League First Team and captained Campbell Hall to an undefeated 2018 season. Nanda (Redlands, Calif./Laurel Springs School) qualified for three of four Grand Slam junior tournaments in 2018 and helped the United States to a runner-up finish at the 2017 Junior Davis Cup. Tsolakyan (Glendale, Calif./Laurel Springs School) was a repeat Boys' 16 singles winner at The Ojai Tennis Tournament in 2015 and 2016. Wild (Murrieta, Calif./Laurel Springs School) was a Boys' 16 doubles champion at the 2016 USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. Zahraj (Frankfurt am Main, Germany/Kurpfalz-Gymnasium und Realschule Mannheim) reached the Boys' 16 singles final at the 2015 Eddie Herr International as an unseeded participant.
Rikus de Villiers was elevated to the position of assistant coach with UCLA men's tennis on June 18, 2018. A familiar face to the program, de Villiers served in the role of volunteer assistant coach for five of the past six seasons. He replaced Grant Chen, who was named head coach at Southern Methodist University. De Villiers joined the UCLA staff in the fall of 2012 and immediately aided the Bruins in their run to the final round of the NCAA Championships the following spring. Over the course of his five seasons on staff, UCLA registered an overall record of 124-28 (.816) and dropped just two regular-season Pac-12 matches (32-2). The Bruins also secured three Pac-12 Tournament titles during de Villiers' time as a volunteer. He coached American Ryan Harrison on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour during his time away from the program in 2015-16. Wil Martin assumed the role of Volunteer Assistant Coach.
UCLA tennis and the UCLA Athletic Department debuted the Katz Family Scoreboard Wednesday, Jan. 9 in front of donors and special invited guests at LATC. The ceremony culminated in a ribbon cutting by the Katz Family, Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero, women's tennis head coach Stella Sampras Webster and men's tennis head coach Billy Martin. Each, along with Sr. Associate Athletic Director, External Relations Josh Rebholz, made remarks highlighting the meaning of the Katz Family's generous donation and the opportunities the scoreboard will provide the UCLA tennis programs. The Katz Family Scoreboard's Daktronics display, measuring 18 feet high and 31.2 feet wide, is among the largest LED video screens in collegiate tennis. Stationed at the east end of LATC's main stadium courts, the board has a 13HD pixel pitch capable of switching between content playback mode and video mode using Show Control. RGB LED lights, meanwhile, will allow for a multitude of graphics possibilities. Also new to the match-day experience is a custom JBL speaker system set to improve audio on the front courts while introducing sound to the back courts.
It was a busy tournament season for a number of Bruins, including six who made their debuts in blue and gold. Smith got things started on one of the fall's biggest stages, winning once before falling in three sets against top-seeded Nuno Borges of Mississippi State. Hahn reached the singles Round of 16 at the ITA Regional Championships, while Pereira-Smith was dealt a quarterfinal-round loss in doubles play. Hahn again impressed with a singles quarterfinal-round berth at the SoCal Intercollegiate Championships, while Pereira and Wild made the quarterfinal round in doubles action. Smith reached the singles and doubles (with partner Hance) semifinals at the Jack Kramer Collegiate Tournament. Rapp advanced to the Flight One singles and doubles (with Lucas Bellamy) championship rounds of the Larry Easley Memorial Classic before coming up short in each, though Pereira and Wild did prove victorious in the doubles final. Rapp led the way with seven fall singles wins, while Hahn (six), Wild (six) and Tsolakyan (one) notched the first victories of their respective careers. Pereira and Wild each posted a 7-2 doubles record, including a 5-1 mark as partners. In January, the doubles pair of Nanda and Smith collected the Sherwood Collegiate Cup doubles title, while each also reached the semifinal round of the singles draw. Zahraj joined Nanda in debuting at Sherwood, while Roscoe Bellamy saw his first action at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic one week prior.
Success in the new year has been plentiful for Bruins playing in professional tournaments. One year after reaching the second round of the Australian Open before taking third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov to five sets, Mackenzie McDonald again advanced into the Grand Slam's second round, defeating Andrey Rublev of Russia, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Marcos Giron also got off on the right foot in 2019, defeating Darian King of Barbados, 6-4, 6-4, in the Orlando Open singles final. It marked the first ATP Challenger Tour singles title of Giron's career. Cressy picked up his first Challenger doubles title at Columbus, where he and partner Bernardo Saraiva of Portugal dropped just one set on the way to the championship. Cressy also registered his 10th Futures doubles title at Los Angeles, continuing his red-hot run through professional tournaments. For good measure, Nanda knocked off the recently-graduated Redlicki, 4-6, 7-6, 6-0, in the Tucson Futures singles final.
Head coach Billy Martin is in his 26th season as head coach of the Bruins, and 36th on the staff. During his tenure, Martin's teams have accumulated 14 conference championships and the 2005 NCAA title. Just two of Martin's teams have finished outside of the top five teams at the season-ending NCAA Championships. They have also not finished outside of the top three teams in the Pac- 12 standings. He has earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors five times (1996, 2012-14, 2018) and the ITA National Coach of the Year award once (1996). Martin has also led three players (Benjamin Kohlloeffel in 2006, Marcos Giron in 2014 and Mackenzie McDonald in 2016) to the NCAA singles title and three teams (J. Gimelstob-S. Muskatirovic in 1996, M. McDonald-M. Redlicki in 2016 and M. Redlicki-E. Zhu in 2018) to the NCAA doubles crown. An ITA Tennis Hall of Famer, Martin was named the "Junior Player of the Century" by Inside Tennis Magazine. Before turning pro, he played one season at UCLA (1975), during which the Bruins captured an NCAA team championship. He also won the NCAA Singles Championship. Martin holds an overall record of 578-118 (.830) overall and a 157-27 (.853) mark in Pac-12 play.