Men’s tennis looks ahead to Athens, Ga. tournament

Sophomore Sean Holt tosses a ball in the air, looking to serve with his racket.
USC will travel to Athens, Ga. for the Southern Intercollegiate Championship after competing in San Francisco and Milwaukee last week. (Amanda Chou | Daily Trojan) 

Following a successful outing at the Battle in the Bay Classic in San Francisco and the Milwaukee Tennis Classic this past weekend, men’s tennis will look to carry its momentum to Athens, Ga. for the Southern Intercollegiate Championship. USC will join Georgia, Texas and Ohio State in Athens for a weekend of competition. 

“Seeing your name at the top and getting a chance to win the tournament is ultra important just to see that your hard work is paying off,” said head coach Brett Masi in an interview with the Daily Trojan. 

Masi said he respects the team’s opponents in this weekend’s tournament and will use these matches to see the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“That’s where we’re really going to see where we’re at,” Masi said. “We may be adequate or we may be a little raw for the year, but, either way, we’re going to see what the other teams have and see what we need to improve on and just how we stand up against them nonetheless.” 

Masi and the players aren’t taking their ability to participate for granted after last season’s fall competitions were cancelled because of the coronavirus.

 “The fact that we’re back on campus and just competing in general right now, it’s just a breath of fresh air,” Masi said. “Last year at this time, we were wondering if we would have a season. It’s pretty big that this team’s able to congregate and practice together on a daily basis.”

This weekend will also serve as another chance for USC’s coaches to get a glimpse at the abilities of the new faces, such as freshman Peter Makk, competing on the team this year. 

“It’s going to be good, friendly competition,” Masi said. “I think you’re going to see a team that has a lot more depth and a team with a lot of grit and competitive fire.” 

USC’s competition is also heading into this tournament with some momentum from previous outings. Texas competed at the Battle in the Bay Classic where sophomore Micah Braswel and graduate senior Richard Ciamarra contributed greatly to the Longhorns, picking up four wins on the second day of the tournament. 

Georgia is coming off appearances in the Champaign 15K Future and Cary Challenger tournaments last week. The four teams competing in this weekend’s action have a combined 28 NCAA titles and 120 conference titles. 

The Trojans will begin tournament play this Friday at 11 a.m. against Ohio State. On Saturday, USC will go up against Texas at 7 a.m. and will finish up this weekend’s competition at 9 a.m. against Georgia Sunday.