Hamza, Willems Elected Team Captains

Captain Slim Hamza

Senior Slim Hamza

Seniors Slim Hamza and Cedric Willems have been elected to serve as the men’s tennis team captains for the 2014/2015 season. Hamza will serve as the team’s captain after receiving the most team votes, while Willems will serve as vice-captain.

“Slim and Cedric will do a fantastic job,” said head men’s tennis coach Roeland Brateanu. “Both have an outstanding record in the classroom and on the tennis court and their extensive experience will help them lead our team.”

Tunisian Davis Cup team member Slim Hamza enters his last year at the U and hopes to make it his most successful year yet. He currently sits on a national ranking of No. 51, and for the 2nd time in his career, Hamza will compete in the main draw at the All-American Championships next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hamza has career singles wins over every Pac-12 school and has been ranked as high as No. 34 in the nation.

“I’m honored to have been selected by my teammates to serve as their captain,” said Hamza. “I take this responsibility very serious and will do anything in my power to make this a special and memorable season. One for all, and all for one!”

Cedric Willems enters his third year as a Ute after competing for one year at Clemson. He is a former Dutch Junior National Indoor Champion and has competed for the Utes mainly at the No’s. 4-6 singles positions. Willems teamed up with roommate Slim Hamza last year to compete at No. 1 doubles.



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Utes Close Out Costa Mesa Futures

Freshman Santiago Sierra

Freshman Santiago Sierra

After a promising first day at the ITF Futures event in Costa Mesa, California, the Utes had a tough second day of competition, losing all three matches.

“We came here to play some tough competition and to measure ourselves against some very good players. We had some tough draws, but competed extremely well,” said first year head coach Roeland Brateanu.

15th seeded Slim Hamza lost to Christopher Helliard (GBR), 7-6(4), 6-3, and returned to Salt Lake City immediately after his match to have his injured knee evaluated. Matt Cowley played a solid match against 2013 ITA All-American Andre Dome, but came up a touch short, 7-5, 6-3 and Cedric Willems lost to UCLA’s Ryoto Tachi (JPN) in a tough three set match; 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

The remaining half of the team closed out competition at the Utah Fall Classic at BYU on Saturday. Redshirt junior Justin Archer notched his first singles win of the season, with a 6-2, 7-6 win over BYU’s Jeremy Bourgeois, while Santiago Sierra continues to impress with a 6-2, 7-6 win over fellow teammate Jamey Swiggart.

“It was great to see all our players in action these past few days at various events. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are excited to get started with this crew and to help them improve both on and off the court,” concluded Brateanu.

Next up for the Utes is a trip to the All-American Championships in Tulsa, OK. Cedric Willems, Parker McGuiness and Matt Cowley will represent the team at the pre-qualifying singles event starting September 27, while senior Slim Hamza, ranked No. 51 in the nation, will compete in the main draw.

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Utes Advance at Costa Mesa Futures

Senior Cedric Willems

Senior Cedric Willems

Three Utes advanced to the second round at the Costa Mesa Futures in southern California today. Senior Cedric Willems led the way with an impressive come-from-behind victory over 12th seeded Boris Bakalov, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Willems saved two match points in the third set and won the set after being down 2-5. He will face Ryoto Tachi (Japan) Saturday at 1pm.

Senior Slim Hamza and Matt Cowley both cruised to easy victories. Hamza dispatched Jamie Vance (USA), 6-1, 6-0 and will play Christopher Helliar (Great Britain) in the 2nd round. Junior Matt Cowley beat Nicolas Dowell, 6-0, 6-0, to set up a 2nd round matchup with former college standout and No. 5 seeded Andre Dome (USA).

Sophomore Parker McGuiness was the only Ute left empty handed. The transfer from NC State started slow and couldn’t overcome an early defect against 16th seeded Michal Dembek (Poland), 2-6, 4-6.

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Sierra, Swiggart Advance in Utah Fall Classic

Jamey Swiggart

Jamey Swiggart

Freshman Santiago Sierra and junior transfer Jamey Swiggart have started their Ute careers off in a great fashion by reaching the quarterfinals of the singles main draw at the Utah Fall Classic at BYU.

Swiggart handily beat Steven Balls, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round and didn’t skip a beat against  BYU’s Jeremy Bourgeois, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals. He will face Shane Monroe (BYU) at 1pm on Friday.

After enjoying a bye in the first round, freshman Santiago Sierra joined Swiggart in the quarterfinals after beating Jacob Sullivan (BYU), 6-4, 7-5, in 2nd round action. The Mexican national will now face 2nd seeded and defending champion Andrey Goryachkov Friday at 1pm.

The new Utes also teamed up to beat Tyler Loong and Paul Monson, 8-5, in doubles play. In quarterfinal play they will face former BYU Cougars and 2nd seeded Michael Eraso and Patrick Kawka.

1st Round Main Draw Singles:
Santiago Sierra (UU) bye
Jamey Swiggart (UU) def. Steven Balls 6-1, 6-1
Louis-Philippe Gascon (UU) bye
Jacob Tullis def. Johan Jonhagen (UU) 6-7, 7-6, 7-6
Victor Brown (BYU) def. Justin Archer (UU) 7-6, 6-3

2nd Round Main Draw Singles:
Jamey Swiggart def. Jeremy Bourgeois (BYU) 6-4, 6-4
Santiago Sierra def. Jacob Sullivan (BYU) 6-4, 7-5
Shane Monroe def. Louis-Philippe Gascon 6-1, 6-3

1st Round Consolation Singles:
Justin Archer (UU) bye
Johan Jonhagen (UU) def. Adrian Canedo 8-0

1st Round Doubles Main Draw:
Sierra/Swiggart (UU) def. Loong/Monson 8-5
Brown/Pfister (BYU) def. Archer/Jonhagen (UU) 8-6

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Utah’s Hamza Ranked No. 51 in ITA Preseason Standings

Senior Slim Hamza

Senior Slim Hamza

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah’s Slim Hamza has been ranked No. 51 in ITA’s men’s preseason singles rankings, announced Monday. The standout senior has been ranked in the preseason for the third-consecutive year.

“Slim is very deserving of this preseason ranking and I am glad to see that he has been recognized going into his final season,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “He is one of our best players and we look forward to him competing in Ute colors this season.”

Hamza defended a 13-8 singles record last year at the top position, and went 3-2 in conference play. He also recorded a 3-3 record against nationally ranked oppponents, including a phenominal 6-0, 6-2 victory over seventh-ranked ray Sarmiento of USC. Hamza received his highest ranking of No. 37 his sophomore year in 2012 and was ranked No. 84 last season as a junior.

Be sure to catch Hamza and the Utes this weekend at the Utah Fall Classic in Provo, Utah, and as they compete at the F25 USA Futures Event in Costa Mesa, Calif. Check this website or utahutes.com for updates.



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Utes to Compete in F25 USA Futures, Utah Fall Classic

The University of Utah men’s tennis team is back to practice and school in preparation for two tournaments. The Utes will participate in the Utah Fall Classic at BYU in Provo, UT,  September 9-11, and the F25 USA Futures in Costa Mesa, CA, September 15-21.

Junior Justin Archer, redshirt freshman Louis-Philippe Gascon, junior transfer Jamey Swiggart, and freshmen Johan Jonhagen and Santiago Sierra will play in the Utah Fall Classic this week.

“The Utah Fall Classic is a great way to start the season for Justin, LP, Johan, Santiago and Jamey,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “They’ll get to play a lot of tennis in three days against mostly a college opposition. It will give us a pretty good indication of where they stand.”

Junior Matt Cowley, Sophomore Parker McGuinness, and Seniors Slim Hamza and Cedric Willems will travel to Costa Mesa for next week’s F25 USA Futures event.

“I’m excited to get started with our first tournaments of the year,” said Brateanu. It is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to play an ITF Futures event to kick off the season and to measure themselves with players at the pro level.”

Check this website for updates on your Utes’ results.

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Utah Athletics Begins Constructing New Outdoor Tennis Facility

Sept. 8, 2014

new-view-looking-southeastSALT LAKE CITY – The Utah tennis programs compete in the premier conference in the nation as a member of the Pac-12 and this spring, both teams will be playing in one of the nation’s finest facilities.

Construction has begun with the addition of outdoor tennis courts and amenities to the George S. Eccles Tennis Center with it due to open this spring for the start of the Pac-12 season.

“This state-of-the art facility is a great addition for not only Utah Athletics, but the university and the Salt Lake City community,” Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration Kyle Brennan said. “This venue provides both Utah tennis programs a selling point for future student-athletes as well as a beautiful environment that will enhance the match-day experience for our current Utes.”

“Coach Iandolo and I are ecstatic about the new outdoor tennis stadium,” men’s tennis head coach Roeland Brateanu said. “This is the biggest thing to happen to Utah tennis in decades. This new venue creates a great environment for competitions and practice, but also aids us in recruiting due to its unique, fan-friendly structure. By the time this project concludes, Utah will have the best combination of indoor and outdoor facilities in the Pac-12.”

The new Utah facility, which will be located immediately west of the indoor tennis center, will feature six courts, three on either side of a raised seating area for fans.

The viewing area, which will also be covered, can seat up to 500 fans and is ideal for watching the best tennis players from around the country.

There will also be an electronic scoreboard on each court so players and fans alike can always keep up to date with every match.

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