Arizona tennis heads to ITA All-American Championships
Shane Bekian / The Daily Wildcat
Fredrik Ask, a Business Economics junior, serves the ball to his teammate during the Men’s Tennis Team practice on Friday.
Four Wildcats will represent the UA men’s tennis in the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., starting Saturday.
Seniors Frederick Ask, Mario Urquidi and Kieren Thompson along with junior Sumeet Shinde will show the nation what they’re capable of.
“[The ITA All-American Championships] are considered one of the grand slams of college tennis,” head coach Tad Berkowitz said. “It’s nationwide. All the best players in the country play in this event.”
Urquidi, Thompson and Shinde participated in the Napa Valley Invitational tournament earlier this month, each finishing with a singles record of 2-1.
“This is the biggest tournament of the fall,” Thompson said. “My main goal is to make the main draw but it’s going to be pretty tough. I’m going to do my best and get through as many matches as I can.”
Thompson has led the Wildcats in singles victories the past two springs.
Arizona starts Saturday with the pre-qualifying round followed by the qualifying round, which runs Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The main draw is the final round, which takes place Oct. 3-Oct. 6.
Berkowitz and the Wildcats are honored to have four participants in this tournament as it is one of college tennis’ most prestigious tournaments.
The Women’s ITA All-American Championships also kick off this weekend in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
“They only invite the top players in the country [to the Women’s ITA All-American Championships],” head coach Vicky Maes said. “So it’s really nice that we have two players competing in the tournament.”
UA seniors Lacy Smyth and Kim Stubbe were invited to play in the tournament.
Stubbe will start in the pre-qualifying round while Smyth has already garnered a spot in the qualifying round. Smyth was ranked 40th in the country in the latest ITA women’s tennis rankings.
“This is a great opportunity for both of us to get good wins against ranked players,” Smyth said. “It will definitely help our confidence and level of play in the spring.”
Many players throughout the Pac-12 will compete in the ITA All-American Championships as the conference features some of the nation’s best talent.
“The Pac-12 is definitely the strongest conference in the country,” Smyth said. “Being able to compete against those players on a regular basis is great for our games.”
— Follow Zach Tennen @ZTennen11