ATHENS-----The Georgia men’s tennis team will play at least 16 NCAA Tournament participants from last season including home matches against Ohio State, Ole Miss and Kentucky as its 2013-14 schedule was announced Monday. The Bulldogs will also play host to the NCAA Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“We have a tremendous schedule – probably one of the toughest schedules we’ve ever had,” UGA coach Manuel Diaz said. “That’s exciting because our players gained a lot of experience last year. I expect our SEC competition to be even stronger this season.”
Georgia will play seven tournaments in the fall and winter before dual matches begin. The season opens with the Southern Intercollegiate Championships – the nation’s oldest fall tennis tournament - in Athens Sept. 13-16. The Bulldogs will participate the following week in the SEC Fall Classic Sept. 19-22 in Nashville before the All-America Championships in Tulsa, Okla., Sept. 27-Oct. 6.
The 2013 ITA Southeast Regional Championships will be held in Atlanta Oct. 11-14, and the ITA National Indoors Singles & Doubles Championships will be played Nov. 7-10 in New York. The fall season concludes with the Bulldog Scramble in Athens Nov. 8-10.
Following a two-month break, Georgia returns to action at the Georgia Tech Invitational Jan. 17-20, then the dual match season begins with the ITA Kickoff vs. Columbia on Jan. 26. The Bulldogs will face either Stanford or Washington on Jan. 27 with the winner of the two-day event advancing to the ITA Team Indoor Championships Feb. 14-17 in Houston.
Georgia will face UCLA (Jan. 31) and USC (Feb. 1) in the inaugural SEC-Pac-12 Showdown in Los Angeles, then East Tennessee State visits Athens on Feb. 6. The annual Georgia-Georgia Tech match is slated for Feb. 27 in Athens.
The Bulldogs open the SEC schedule on the road at Tennessee on March 2 before a three-match homestand against Mississippi State (March 7), Ole Miss (March 9) and Ohio State (March 12). The match against Ohio State will be part of a doubleheader with the Georgia women’s team, which will face Virginia earlier in the day.
Georgia then travels to South Carolina (March 14) and Florida (March 16) and returns home for matches against Kentucky (March 21) and Vanderbilt (March 23). UGA will face Texas A&M in College Station on March 28.
The regular season ends with home matches against Arkansas (April 4) and LSU (April 6) and road contests at Alabama (April 11) and Auburn (13).
Vanderbilt will play host to the SEC Tournament April 18-21, and the NCAA First & Second Rounds are scheduled for May 9-11 on 16 campus sites. The NCAA Championships return to Athens May 15-26.
“We’re excited about that, but it’s something you must prepare for,” Diaz said. “When the tournament is here, there will be a lot of distractions and expectations, and we must prepare for that. It’s great to play in front of your crowd, but there is a lot you have to channel. How you deal with those things will make a major difference.”
Georgia returns all seven players who played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs swept the SEC regular season and tournament titles last season and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships.