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Georgia Begin Conference Slate at No. 5 Tennessee, No. 26 Mississippi St.


Ryan Cullinane

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant

University of Georgia Athletic Association


ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 43 Georgia men’s tennis team will begin Southeastern Conference play on the road this weekend, traveling to play No. 5 Tennessee on Friday, March 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET and No. 26 Mississippi State on Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

 

No. 43 GEORGIA VS. No. 5 TENNESSEE

Date: March 1, 2024

Time: 4:30 p.m. ET

Location: Knoxville, Tenn.

Venue: Goodfriend Tennis Center

 

No. 43 GEORGIA VS. No. 26 MISSISSIPPI STATE

Date: March 3, 2024

Time: 2 p.m. ET

Location: Starkville, Miss.

Venue: Rula Tennis Pavilion

Live Stats + Video: https://gado.gs/8ok

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

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

Tennessee Season Stats: https://gado.gs/bh0 

Mississippi State Season Stats: https://gado.gs/bgz 

 

BULLDOGS BULLETIN

Classic City Colby: Colby has started the dual-match season in impressive fashion. The junior has primarily played on court two for the first time in his career, where he is 5-1, winning four matches in straight sets. He has won seven of his last nine singles matches, including four in a row against ranked opponents.

 

Colby ended the fall with career-best singles and doubles rankings of No. 36 and No. 25 with Niels Ratiu respectively. He earned his highest-ranked win at the Longhorn Invitational over No. 17 Micah Braswell to begin his Georgia career. Colby is 7-1 against ranked opponents this year after starting his career 2-3.

 

Last Time Out: The No. 40 Georgia men's tennis team fell to No. 3 Wake Forest, 5-2, on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Georgia secured the doubles point to start the match. No. 37 Colby and Ratiu picked up where they left off, winning on court two for their first victory since Jan. 6. On court three, Cyrus Mahjoob and Miguel Perez Peña finished off doubles and clinched with a 6-3 win for the Bulldogs' fourth doubles point of the year. In singles, Colby earned his fourth-straight ranked win and seventh of the year. The junior defeated No. 53 Dhakshineswar Suresh, 7-5, 7-6(5), on court two.

 

Dawgs in the Rankings: Georgia enters the week ranked No. 43 nationally by the ITA. The Southeastern Conference features 11 schools in the top 50. 

 

Three of Georgia’s players remain ranked in singles, with Thomas Paulsell sitting atop the roster’s rankings at No. 54. He is joined by No. 56 Colby and No. 77 Perez Peña. In doubles, No. 37 Colby and Ratiu, the lone ranked tandem among the Bulldogs, are currently 9-3 together. 

 

Scouting the Volunteers: Tennessee entered this week’s ITA team rankings at No. 5 at 11-3 overall. All three of the Volunteers’ losses have come on the road.

 

Currently ranked No. 7 in the ITA singles poll, Johannus Monday boasts a singles record of 10-2 on court one. No. 27 Shunsuke Mitsui plays on court two for the Volunteers and holds a 9-2 dual-match record. In tandem with Monday, graduate student Angel Diaz plays on court one in doubles and is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation together.

 

Scouting MSU’s Bulldogs: MSU now stands at No. 26 in the team rankings after winning four straight matches. The Bulldogs hold an 8-3 record, falling to the VCU, No. 25 Florida State, and Middle Tennessee.

 

On a roster composed largely of underclassmen, sophomore No. 23 Petar Jovanovic boasts the best performance in singles. He holds a 38-14 career record with a 5-7 mark in SEC play. In doubles, Mississippi State’s Jovanovic and Benito Sanchez Martinez are the lone pair on the roster ranked at No. 42. 

 

Diaz Announces Retirement: Legendary men's tennis head coach Manuel Diaz, the SEC's all-time leader in career wins who has guided Georgia to 29 conference championships, four NCAA national titles and a pair of ITA indoor national championships in 36 years, announced on Thursday, Feb. 22, that he will retire after the current 2023-24 season. 

 

Diaz has a 46-year association with the Georgia men's tennis program. He was a two-time All-American during his playing days from 1972-75 and then served on Coach Dan Magill's staff as an assistant/associate head coach from 1982-88. He has been a part of each of Georgia's national championship teams and has won SEC Championships in each of the last five decades. 

 

"It's a difficult decision to step away from something that has been such a huge part of my life and that I've loved for so long," Diaz said. "Georgia tennis has given me so much, and I want to thank all our fans from all over the world.”

 

Diaz has been at the helm of the Georgia men's tennis program since the 1988-89 season, following the retirement of his mentor, Dan Magill. During his tenure, Diaz has established the Bulldogs as a blueblood in the sport, capturing four NCAA Team Championships while appearing in the NCAA finals 11 times and winning two Intercollegiate Tennis Association Team National Indoor Championships. 

 

Georgia has reached the NCAA Tournament in all 35 seasons under his leadership, advancing to the quarterfinals in 27 of those trips to the postseason. His players have captured eight individual NCAA Championships — three in doubles and five in singles. Most recently, Ethan Quinn won the NCAA singles title in 2023. Diaz has led the program to 10 SEC Tournament titles and 19 regular season crowns. Every four-year letterman has won at least one SEC Championship ring while playing at Georgia for Coach Diaz. 

 

With 771 victories to date, Diaz is the all-time winningest coach in SEC history. He has been awarded seven conference Coach of the Year trophies, eight ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors and three ITA National Coach of the Year awards.

 

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 Manuel 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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