Alabama Men’s Tennis’ Top Moments of 2018
Alabama men’s tennis finished with numerous accomplishments from the 2018 season. Below is a list of some of the top moments from this year.
Alabama Makes Appearances in Team, Singles & Doubles NCAA Tournament
The Crimson Tide made its 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament after being selected for the first time since 2013. The Tide was one of 10 SEC teams to make it to the tournament following its 18-12 regular season record. Alabama was selected as the No. 3 seed in the Tallahassee Regional, with the other three teams in the regional being No. 1 seed FSU, No. 2 Tulane and No. 4 Alabama State.
Junior Mazen Osama was seeded No. 9-16 in his second time in the NCAA Singles Tournament. Osama eventually advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament, becoming the first Tide player ever to make it that far in singles action.
Osama and Ortiz became the seventh-straight Alabama pair to make it to the NCAA Doubles Tournament. The duo ended the regular season at 16-8, and were ranked as the No. 26 doubles pair going into the tournament.
The Tide Makes a Run in NCAA Tournament with Upsets in Tallahassee
For only the fourth time in program history, Alabama advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 after first defeating No. 23 Tulane 4-1 and then upsetting No. 11 Florida State, 4-2, as the No. 3 seed in the Tallahassee Regional. The Tide handed the Noles just their fifth loss of the season and moved on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007.
Alabama Defeats No. 21 Georgia for the First Time Since 2003
The Crimson Tide earned a historic win over No. 21 Georgia, 4-2, snapping a 15-match losing streak to UGA, on April 6 in Tuscaloosa. The Tide last defeated the Bulldogs on March 9, 2003 before the victory this past season. UA first earned the doubles point before getting singles wins from Zhe Zhou, Mazen Osama and the clinching point from Alexey Nesterov to pull through, 4-2.
The Crimson Tide Starts the Season 14-0
Alabama shattered records to begin the season as the Tide won 14-straight matches which was the longest win streak in program history. The previous long was back in 1976 when UA won 12-straight matches during the season. During the 14-0 start the Crimson Tide defeated strong opponents in Virginia Tech, Penn State and Arizona.
Alabama Hosts 2018 SEC Men’s Tennis Championships
Alabama hosted the SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament for the first time since 2006. The Tide opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over rival Auburn, before upsetting No. 25 Kentucky, 4-1, to advance to the quarterfinals against No. 19 Tennessee. The Crimson Tide’s performance in the tournament landed them in the NCAA Tournament.
Mazen Osama Shines in Junior Campaign
Osama received numerous awards this year and for good reason. The junior finished the year as the highest ranked Alabama men’s tennis player in the final Oracle/ITA Rankings coming in at No. 8 to end the season. The Cairo, Egypt dominated the NCAA Singles Tournament by first defeating No. 51 Aswin Lizen (Virginia), then No. 65 Trevor Johnson (TCU), and No. 47 Runhao Hua (Michigan). Osama finished the year 12-7 against nationally-ranked opponents and 18-8 overall.
Alabama Men’s Tennis Signs Caleb Holcomb Through Team Impact
The Alabama men’s tennis team officially signed 11-year-old Caleb Holcomb to the program on May 2 through Team Impact. Caleb was diagnosed with hypogammaglobinemia when he was born, which makes his immune system very weak, while also having speech of apraxia. Caleb regularly visits children's hospitals for treatment. Caleb has officially become a member of the Crimson Tide roster, and the Holcomb family is forever a part of the Alabama tennis family.
Academic GPA: Fall & Spring Semesters
The Alabama men’s tennis team was honored at the annual Crimson Choice Awards with the highest men’s team GPA with a 3.65. In the fall, the squad compiled a 3.75 GPA which was its best-ever in a semester, while accruing a 3.48 GPA in the spring. Freshman Sam Fischer finished both semesters on the President’s List (4.0+ GPA).
The Crimson Tide Heavily Represented in Postseason Awards
Edson Ortiz named to the 2018 SEC Men’s Tennis Community Service Team and Second Team All-SEC. Mazen Osama was the first Alabama men’s tennis All-American since 2001 while also being named First Team All-SEC. Osama was also named the ITA Southern Region Player to Watch for the second consecutive year before becoming the first Alabama player to be tabbed as the ITA National Player to Watch. Assistant Coach Robbie Weiss was named the ITA Southern Region Assistant Coach of the Year. The team as a whole received the Southern Region Community Service Team Award after participating in Habitat for Humanity, the Big Al Art Project at Rock Quarry Elementary School, assisting at the Capstone Village Senior Residential Community, the University of Alabama Homecoming Parade, with Project Angel Tree, Alabama Tennis Play Days, and the Crimson Tide Junior Tennis Academy.
Alabama Advances to the Finals of the Blue-Gray Classic
The Tide earned its 13th and 14th wins of the season in the Blue-Gray Classic in Montgomery, Ala. UA bested Rice 4-2 in the first match of the tournament before moving past Arizona 4-2 to advance to the finals against then-ranked No. 20 Arizona State. Alabama fell in the finals to the Sun Devils in a narrow defeat, 4-3.