FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After leading Arkansas’ tennis team into the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament and a No. 24 final ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, juniors Adrians Zguns and Rohan Gajjar are leading the Razorbacks into the 2004-05 season with individual national rankings.
Zguns, who was 36-10 a year ago, is ranked No. 10 in the nation. Gajjar, who was 19-14 and clinched the NCAA Tournament victories over both Oklahoma State and Tennessee, is No. 116.
“That’s quite an accomplishment with 3,500 Division I players in the country,” head coach Robert Cox says. “At No. 10 in the country, Adrians is continuing our tradition of producing players high in the individual rankings.”
The Hogs open their fall season this weekend with Gajjar participating in the Tulsa Hurricane Invitational. At the same time, six singles players and three doubles teams are playing at the Navy Invitational.
Cox, who became UA’s all-time victories leader last season and now has 225 wins at Arkansas, is taking a full singles and doubles lineup to the individual draw, flighted tournament at Navy.
“We’re guaranteed three matches,” Cox says. “We’re excited. Everybody is ready to start the season. Hopefully we can take where we ended in May and use that as a starting point for this semester.”
Sophomore Matt Simpson is at No. 1, junior Matt Roberts No. 2, senior Imraan Ismail No. 3, senior Talley Parker No. 4, sophomore Andrei Nicoara No. 5 and freshman Michael Jung No. 6. Ismail and Roberts are at No. 1 doubles, Jung and Simpson at No. 2, and Parker and Nicoara at No. 3.
Arkansas faces Navy at 4 p.m. on Friday, Richmond at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Oklahoma at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
Simpson was 10-16, Roberts 16-16, Ismail 19-16, Parker 8-7 and Nicoara 4-7 last year as Arkansas went 16-10, matching its best win total of the last 13 years and earning a fourth straight bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Zguns, who ended last season ranked No. 23 in the country, is not participating in either tournament this weekend.