FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings have been released, and once again they include several players from Arkansas, including three Razorbacks listed in the singles rankings.
Juniors Rohan Gajjar, Adrians Zguns and Matt Roberts all made the final singles list with Gajjar ranked No. 62, Zguns No. 101 and Roberts No. 118. In doubles, Zguns and Gajjar earned a final ranking of No. 25.
“This validates the great years those three players had,” head coach Robert Cox says. “I’m excited to have these guys as the anchor of the lineup for next year.”
Gajjar, from Harare, Zimbabwe, earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament singles draw and lost in the first round to finish 21-15. Gajjar also advanced to the finals of the ITA Central Region V Championships and earned a spot in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
Zguns, from Liepafa, Latvia, went 18-14 playing the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions. In the fall, he won four straight in the ITA Region V Championships. As a sophomore, he was 36-10 and ended the year ranked No. 23. Gajjar and Zguns also each earned All-Southeastern Conference honors.
“These rankings are another feather in their hat,” Cox says. “It shows their consistency because they’ve been recognized on a conference, regional and national level.”
Roberts, from Little Rock, led the team in wins by going 26-9 at the No. 3 position. He went 13-2 in the fall with six wins in the ITA Icy Hot/ITA All-American Tournament. He also teamed with Imraan Ismail to win the ITA Central Region V doubles championship.
Zguns and Gajjar earned one of only 32 spots in the NCAA doubles tournament and upset the No. 15 team, California’s Patrick Briaud and Conor Niland, before losing to the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in the second round. The duo finished 12-13 with a 4-5 record against ranked teams.
In the final Central Region V rankings, Gajjar is No. 2, Zguns No. 5 and Roberts No. 8. In the doubles rankings, Zguns and Gajjar are the No. 1 duo while Roberts and Ismail are No. 8.
In the overall team rankings, Arkansas is fourth in the region and No. 68 in the nation.
In addition to Gajjar, Zguns and Roberts, the Razorbacks also return sophomore Michael Jung (11-11), junior Andrei Nicoara (5-8), and sophomores Jimmy Khougassian, Brenton Horne, Braden Burk and Brian Yanulis.
“Michael Jung really came on at end of the year and we’re looking forward to him returning,” Cox says. “Jimmy and Andrei are two others who have a year of experience under their belts. We’re really looking forward to next year. We’ve added several good players to the returnees. I think we’ll be a force.”
Newcomers include Blake Strode and Taylor King, who are each ranked in the top 110 in the nation in the boy’s 18-and-under division, along with Branden Joost, Jordan Custer, Drew Sosebee and Ryan Leach.
“We’re going to have a big team,” Cox says. “We may redshirt some of them, but I’m excited about having a large team. The talent is there, plus there’s a good mix between veterans and younger players.”