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Bulldogs Begin Postseason at SEC Tournament



Ryan Cullinane

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant

University of Georgia Athletic Association


The No. 35 Georgia men’s tennis team will begin its postseason in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, taking on No. 31 Arkansas on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET at the LSU Tennis Complex in Baton Rouge, La.

 

No. 35 GEORGIA (14-12, 5-7 SEC) VS. No. 31 ARKANSAS (20-10, 5-7 SEC)

Date: April 18, 2024

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Baton Rouge, La.

Venue: LSU Tennis Complex

Live Stats: https://gado.gs/br3 

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

SEC Tournament Central: https://gado.gs/br2 

Georgia Season Stats: https://gado.gs/b9y

Arkansas Season Stats: https://gado.gs/br1 

 

BULLDOGS BULLETIN

The First Serve: Georgia enters the SEC Tournament seeking its 11th title as the eighth seed after posting a 5-7 conference record.

 

The first SEC Tournament was held in 1990 during head coach Manuel Diaz’s second season at the helm of the program. He has led Georgia to a 59-23 record in the conference championship and a league-best 10 tournament titles. LSU will play host for the tournament for the third time, previously doing so in 1995 and 2007, with the Bulldogs taking home the title in both years. 

 

This is the second time that Georgia has earned the eighth seed in the SEC Tournament, previously doing so in 2018. The team was also paired up against Arkansas in its opening round match, where it won, 4-2.

 

The Bulldogs are currently riding a six-match win streak against the Razorbacks, winning the matches by a combined 28-5 since 2018. Georgia and Arkansas will meet for the fifth time in tournament history on Thursday. The Bulldogs have won all previous four meetings.

 

SEC Tournament: The Bulldogs have won the SEC Tournament 10 times, the most of any school in the conference. Florida has won it six times, while Tennessee ranks third with five. Georgia’s last SEC Tournament title came in 2017 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Bulldogs beat Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State to capture the SEC crown.

Georgia has played Mississippi State the most of any SEC team in the conference championship, holding a 13-2 record against Mississippi State in 15 total matches.

 

Last year, the team advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship match in 2023 before falling to Kentucky in a hard-fought 4-3 decision. Georgia swept its quarterfinal and semifinal opponents, Florida and Texas A&M, en route to the final.

 

The Bulldogs have won 19 of their 59 SEC Tournament matches by sweep, good for just shy of a third of their wins. Georgia has only been swept four times in 23 losses.

 

Dawgs in the Rankings: Georgia moved up to No. 35 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings that were updated on Tuesday, April 16 after beating Vanderbilt, 4-3, on Sunday.

 

In singles, Thomas Paulsell leads the team with a No. 50 ranking. The junior plays on court one and has won six matches against ranked opponents this season. He is followed by No. 68 Ryan Colby, who leads the team in ranked wins with nine, good for third-most in the SEC.

 

Freddy Blaydes and Niels Ratiu lead the team in doubles on the court and in the rankings. The pair plays on court one and is ranked No. 28. Blaydes and Ratiu’s highest-ranked win came on March 24 when they beat No. 29 Bozo Barun and Jared Horwood of Arkansas by a 6-2 score. Paulsell and Colby round out Georgia’s student-athletes in the doubles poll at No. 88.

 

Dangerous in Doubles: Georgia closed out the regular season winning the doubles point in nine of its final 10 matches where the competition was played. Since winning the doubles point at No. 12 Texas A&M on March 17, the team is a combined 19-5 in doubles. Freshman Ratiu finished the regular season with 23 wins in doubles competition, good for most in the league. Ratiu earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors on March 27.

 

Peaking at the Right Time: Ratiu has saved some of the best tennis of his freshman season for the end. Ratiu, a native of Liège, Belgium, won six of his final eight singles matches and seven of the last 10 doubles matches to cap off the regular season. He has earned two match-clinching wins in singles and clinched the doubles point for the Bulldogs in five matches.

 

Classic City Colby: Colby has continued to impress during the dual-match season. The junior has primarily played on court two for the first time in his career, where he has nine wins, 10 of which came in straight sets. He earned his highest-ranked win in the fall over Texas’ No. 17 Micah Braswell to begin his Georgia career. Colby holds nine wins against ranked opponents this year after starting his career 2-3.

 

Last Time Out: Georgia capped off the regular season with wins over No. 44 Vanderbilt and Tennessee State during a doubleheader on Sunday, April 14 at the Ensworth Tennis Center.

 

The Bulldogs earned the doubles point against the Commodores by winning on courts three and one, with No. 27 Blaydes and Ratiu clinching the point for the fifth time together. 

 

Ratiu clinched the match with a win in singles over Joubert Klopper 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 7-5. No. 54 Paulsell won his sixth ranked singles match of the year in a 5-7, 7-6(10), 6-2 decision against No. 60 Danil Panarin on court one. 


After winning 4-3 in a four-hour, nine-minute match, Georgia is now 60-5 since 1961 against Vanderbilt. Georgia’s 4-2 victory over Tennessee State marked the first match the programs have played against each other. 

 

Hunt Named Next Head Coach: Former Bulldog All-American and National Champion Jamie Hunt has been named the next head coach of the Georgia men's tennis program and will begin serving in that role at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks announced on Tuesday, Feb. 27.Hunt is currently in his seventh season as the associate head coach on Georgia's staff. Hunt will become the third head coach in the modern history of the program dating back to 1955, replacing the legendary Diaz, who recently announced his retirement.Hunt played for Coach Diaz from 2007-2010 and helped lead Georgia to a pair of national championships. He returned to his alma mater in 2017 to serve as the program's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.Under Hunt's leadership, Georgia has signed a top-10 class in all but one season — the No. 2 class in 2018, No. 3 in 2019, No. 10 in 2021 and most recently bringing in the top-ranked class in 2023. That recruiting success has translated to the court.During the 2022-23 campaign, Hunt helped lead Georgia to a Southeastern Conference Championship with a perfect 12-0 mark in league play. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, and freshman Ethan Quinn captured the program's fifth NCAA singles title, joining all-time greats Mikael Pernfors (1984, 1985) and Matias Boeker (2001, 2002).

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