Starting today, members of the No. 1 USC men’s tennis team have their last opportunities to hone their individual games before embarking on a spring season that might culminate in the Trojans’ fourth-consecutive NCAA championship.
Ten Trojans will join a 32-player singles draw and battle for a title at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif., starting today through Monday.
The tournament, which includes players from No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Stanford and No. 9 UCLA, will be USC’s last action before beginning its spring season with a doubleheader against Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 21.
“We play [the Sherwood Cup] just to see where everyone’s at, and it’s a good way to start [the season],” USC coach Peter Smith said.
USC has packed the top eight seeds of the bracket with five Trojans, including ITA National Player of the Year senior Steve Johnson, who returns to collegiate action after taking the fall semester off to train for the professional circuit.
Johnson enters the Sherwood Cup seeded No. 1 alongside fellow senior Daniel Nguyen at No. 3. Sophomores Ray Sarmiento and Emilio Gomez possess the No. 2 and No. 4 seed, respectively, and freshman Yannick Hanfmann rounds out the top eight standing at No. 7.
Sophomore Corey Smith and freshmen Eric Johnson, Jonny Wang, Jordi Vives and Roberto Quiroz will also join the quest for an individual title. This will be Vives’ and Quiroz’s first collegiate action as spring additions to the tennis team.
Each of the Trojans will also pair up into five teams and participate in a 16-team doubles draw. Hanfmann and Steve Johnson will join forces as the No. 2 seed and begin play against Stanford’s Daniel Ho and Jamin Ball.
With more than two months of rest since their last tournament, the young, yet promising, Trojans hope to settle back onto the court and polish their plays at Thousand Oaks before beginning their journey for yet another NCAA championship.