Utah Camps Announce Major Changes, Hamza to Return

Hamza and Brateanu

Slim Hamza (right) listening to then Assistant Coach Roeland Brateanu (left) in 2014.

Head Men’s Tennis Coach Roeland Brateanu today announced sweeping changes to the University of Utah Tennis Camp structure.

First and foremost, former Ute star Slim Hamza returns to the U as the new Director of Tennis Camps. Hamza, a native of Kairouan, Tunisia, returns to the University of Utah after spending two seasons as the Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach at the UNLV, where he lead the team a 33-19 overall record.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks at UNLV, Hamza ranked as high as No. 69 in the world on the ITF Rankings and made it to the 2nd round in the Australian Open. He joined the Utes in 2011 and in his four seasons competing at the top spot, Hamza ranked as high as No. 34 in the nation and was named to the All-Pac 12 Team three consecutive years.

Due to his tremendous success on the court, he was named a starter for the 2013 Davis Cup rubber against Latvia, where he faced Ernesto Gulbis. After a career ending back injury in 2015, Hamza joined the Utah coaching staff for one season as a Student-Assistant Coach, before departing for a full time position at UNLV.

“We are tremendously excited with the Slim’s return to the University of Utah,” said Coach Brateanu. “Slim was an unbelievable player and is a tremendous coach. He is the right man for the job and I know he will do a fantastic job in our tennis community.”

Dee-Dee Nelson will remain in charge of the highly successful junior development program, which exploded onto the Utah tennis scene last summer and has grown into one of the biggest and most successful junior development programs in the state.

“Dee-Dee has done an unbelievable job with our junior development program and we are excited to have her continue to work her magic,” said Coach Brateanu. “The way she connects with and her passion for juniors is unparalleled in our state. The new camp structure will allow her to flourish even more!”

Nelson will be assisted by former Ute star Tereza Bekerova and members of the Utah coaching staff and current and former Utah players.

Jason Weir-Smith will run the newly created adult division of the Utah Tennis Camps which will include Men’s and Ladies’ workouts in all divisions and levels, Adult Summer Camps, Match Play and much, much more.

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Utah Athletics Shines in Latest APR Report

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA has announced its latest single and multi-year Academic Progress Report (APR) for NCAA Division I schools. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation of all student-athletes on scholarship, and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance.

The latest multi-year APR calculations include scores from 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The average for Utah’s teams was 986 easily exceeding the NCAA minimum requirement of 930.

Utah had five sports (gymnastics, men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s tennis, and volleyball) with perfect single-year APR scores of 1000. The volleyball team earned a perfect single-year APR score for the fifth consecutive year, gymnastics received a perfect score for the fourth straight season, and men’s tennis has been perfect for three years in a row.

Cross country, gymnastics and volleyball each registered perfect multi-year APR scores of 1000. These teams, along with track, received public recognition from the NCAA for posting a multi-year APR in the top 10 percent of all athletic teams in the country. Track also posted the highest multi-year APR score for the Pac-12, while cross country, gymnastics and volleyball were all tied for the top score in their respective disciplines.

The football (983) and men’s basketball (985) teams posted the third-highest multi-year APR scores in the Pac-12 for their respective sports. Football produced a multi-year APR ranking in the top third of the Pac-12 Conference for a seventh-straight year.

Four Utah teams improved their multi-year scores from a year ago. Making gains were women’s basketball (+10), men’s swimming (+6), gymnastics (+4), and women’s track (+2). Baseball, football, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball all maintained the same multi-year APR.

For a complete view of the entire NCAA database, click here.

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Utes Garner 5 ITA Awards

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its 2018 Division 1 Mountain Regional winners this morning with Utah earning four individual awards and one team honor.

David Micevski was named the ITA Player to Watch after going 15-8 this season at the top of the Utah lineup. The junior from Macedonia is a two-time All-Pac-12 honoree and provides Utah a bright future alongside last year’s winner, Dan Little.

Roeland Brateanu was named the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year for a second-straight campaign. He became the first Utah head coach to win postseason awards in multiple years since F.D. Robbins in 1990 (WAC Coach of the Year). Utah went 17-2 in non-conference play and ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation en route to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in over two decades.

Daniel Pollock was named the tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, which means every member of Utah’s current staff has now won this award (Brateanu in 2014 and Graeme Cox in 2007).

Egbert Weverink became the fourth Ute to earn the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award, joining Brateanu (’04), Brandon Owen (’97) and Cox (’92). As one of two senior captains, he helped guide the Utes to the postseason by playing in the middle of the singles lineup and teaming with Joe Woolley in doubles action.

Finally, the Utes were recognized for their work off the court as one of seven schools across the nation to earn an ITA Community Service Award. Recently, the team joined with former football player Stevenson Sylvester to organize and send school supplies to the Dominican Republic.

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Utes Lose to No. 14 Oklahoma in NCAA Tournament

NORMAN, Okla. – Making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 21 years, the Utah men’s tennis team was beaten this afternoon by No. 14 Oklahoma, 4-0.

“Congratulations to Oklahoma on the win today and for being fantastic hosts,” head coach Roeland Brateanu said. “We competed like lions today and made it a match but came up a little short against a very good Sooner team. We learned what it was like to be back on the big stage and will take these valuable experiences into next season.”

Utah dropped the doubles point and entered singles play trailing on the scoreboard, 1-0. Russell Benkaim and Randy Cory pushed the top Oklahoma pair, Alex Bakshi and Jake van Emburgh, ranked No. 44 in the country, before falling, 6-4.

Those two Sooners cruised to victories on courts one and two in singles play and gave the hosts a commanding 3-0 lead in the match.

Meanwhile, Egbert Weverink and Cory both won their second singles sets by identical 6-3 scores to force final frames. Unfortunately, neither Ute was able to see it out as the match ended with the Sooners sealing a fourth point on court six.

Utah went 17-2 in non-conference play and ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation after winning its first two Pac-12 matches for the first time since joining the conference in 2012

No. 14 Oklahoma 4, Utah 0

Alex Bakshi def. Dan Little, 6-2, 6-2
Jake van Emburgh def. David Micevski, 6-1, 6-3
Santiago Sierra vs. Ferran Calvo, unf.
Egbert Weverink vs. Adrian Oetzbach, unf.
Randy Cory vs. Jochen Bertsch, unf.
Stefano Tsorotiotis def. Slava Shainyan, 6-1, 7-6
Order of finish: 2,1,6

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Utes Head to NCAAs For First Time Since 1997

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men’s tennis team is headed back to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1997.

The Utes will travel to Norman, Oklahoma and play the No. 14-seeded Sooners in the first round on Friday, May 11. The match is set for 1 pm. CT and will follow the contest between No. 18 Georgia and Minnesota

“I am a little shaken up,” senior Santiago Sierra said. “I am just experiencing all these emotions after finding out we qualified about five minutes ago. I am proud of the hard work we have put in the last four years and everyone who has been a part of this program.”

“I am overjoyed at this point,” senior Egbert Weverink said. “We started off really well and then suffered some tough losses. When I came here, I wanted to make an impact and leave it at a different place from where we started. I think it is a testament to the hard work we have all put in.”

“I am incredibly happy for our seniors who have put in so much work during their time here,” head coach Roeland Brateanu said. “I am proud of our staff, our Ute family and congratulations to the team.

We made it back for the first time in 21 years. When I played, we never made it. I think many of my teammates will be shocked that we earned an at-large bid. To come from playing in a public park and needing to win a conference tournament to having our own amazing facility and playing against the best teams in the nation, I am going to let this settle in for the next couple of days.”

Utah went 17-2 in non-conference play and ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation after winning its first two Pac-12 matches for the first time since joining the conference in 2012

Dan Little is Utah’s highest-ranked singles player and has a record of 17-6 this season. Senior Santiago Sierra has also amassed a solid singles record of 18-4.

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Utes Open Pac-12 Play with Win over Arizona

SALT LAKE CITY – Senior Egbert Weverink provided the heroics for a third-straight match as he won at the No. 3 singles spot to clinch the Pac-12 opener vs Arizona on Friday.

With this win, the 39th ranked University of Utah men’s tennis team is now 18-2 overall, and starts off Pac-12 play with a 1-0 record.

“Going 1-0 in Pac-12 play and beating a very tough Arizona team feels really good,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “UA fought very hard and it was a close match that had everything in it. We are lucky to come up with this victory, thanks to Egbert.”

The Utes started the match off by securing the doubles point. Joe Woolley and Weverink recorded the first victory of the day on the No. 2 court, beating out Carlos Hassey and Filip Malbasic with a score of 6-1. Dan Little and Azat Hankuliyev then finished things off with a win at the No. 3 position, defeating Jonas Maier and Alejandro Reguant with a final score of 6-3.

In singles, Woolley got things going with a victory on the No. 6 court, defeating Arizona’s Trent Botha 6-4, 7-6. Then in a very competitive match, David Micevski was able to come away with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-4, win over Aaro Pollanen at the No. 2 position as the Utes pulled ahead in the overall score, 3-2. After the ‘Cats tied the score 3-3, Weverink provided the Utes with a win, defeating Filip Malbasic in three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, to give the Utah men’s tennis team the victory.

The Utes will be back in action tomorrow at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center to take on 34th ranked Arizona State. The match against the Sun Devils is set to start at 1 p.m., wrapping up play for the weekend for the Utes.

Utah 4, Arizona 3

Doubles (2,3)
Igor Karpovets/Aaro Pollanen (UA) vs. Russell Benkaim/Randy Cory (UTAH), 5-3, unf.
Joe Woolley/Egbert Weverink (UTAH) def. Carlos Hassey/Filip Malbasic (UA), 6-1
Dan Little/Azat Hankuliyev (UTAH) def. Jonas Maier/Alejandro Reguant (UA), 6-3

Singles (6,4,1,5,2,3)
Igor Karpovets (UA) def. Dan Little (UTAH), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
David Micevski (UTAH) def. Aaro Pollanen (UA), 6-1, 6-7, 6-4
Egbert Weverink (UTAH) def. Filip Malbasic (UA), 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 – 35
Alejandro Reguant (UA) def. Santiago Sierra (UTAH), 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
Jonas Maier (UA) def. Randy Cory (UTAH), 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 – 33
Joe Woolley (UTAH) def. Trent Botha (UA), 6-4, 7-6

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Utes Beat Out BYU in Deseret Duel

SALT LAKE CITY – Senior Egbert Weverink capped a thrilling Deseret First Duel match on Saturday afternoon, sealing the win for the Utes with a 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 win at No. 3 singles.

By capturing the Duel, the Utes, ranked No. 37 in the country, improved to 17-2 on the season.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate BYU for playing an unbelievable match,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “They were better than us in doubles but we fought our way back with three singles wins and had the momentum on our side. The rain delay definitely affected us and made it an incredibly close match. We let up a little bit and let BYU back into the match, we are very fortunate to come away with a win today,”

The Utes fell behind ealy by dropping the doubles point to the Cougars. On the No. 2 court, Joe Woolley and Weverink were defeated 6-3 by BYU’s John Pearce and Ben Gajardo. Russell Benkaim and Randy Cory were then unable to pull off a victory at the No. 1 spot against Sean Hill and Jeffrey Hsu, falling by an identical score.

In singles action, play started on the outside courts of the George S. Eccles Tennis Center but was then moved inside due to rain. Down 1-0, the Utes were able to rally back against the Cougars, starting with a win at the No. 2 position by Dan Little over BYU’s Jeffery Hsu, with a score of 6-2, 7-5. Woolley followed with a win at the No. 2 spot against David Ball, coming away with a score of 6-4, 6-4. Santiago Sierra then pitched in a win of his own on the No. 5 court, beating out Ben Gajardo 7-6, 6-3. After the Cougars won a pair of three-setters to pull even in the match, Weverink capped the difficult day with a fantastic victory for his side.

The Utah men’s tennis team will be back at home next weekend to begin Pac-12 play. They will face off against the University of Arizona on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m., and will wrap up the weekend with a match against Arizona State the following day at 1 p.m.

Utah 4, BYU 3

Doubles (2,1)
Sean Hill/Jeffrey Hsu (BYU) def. Russell Benkaim/Randy Cory (UTAH), 6-3
John Pearce/Ben Gajardo (BYU) def. Joe Woolley/Egbert Weverink (UTAH), 6-3
Dan Little/Azat Hankuliyev (UTAH) vs. Sam Tullis/David Ball (BYU), 5-3, unf.

Singles (2,6,5,4,1,3)
Sean Hill (BYU) def. David Micevski (UTAH), 4-6, 6-1, 7-5
Dan Little (UTAH) def. Jeffrey Hsu (BYU), 6-2, 7-5
Egbert Weverink (UTAH) def. John Pearce (BYU), 7-6, 6-7, 7-5
Sam Tullis (BYU) def. Randy Cory (UTAH), 7-6, 3-6, 6-2
Santiago Sierra (UTAH) def. Ben Gajardo (BYU), 7-6, 6-3
Joe Woolley (UTAH) def. David Ball (BYU), 6-4, 6-4

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