Freshmen Spencer Johnson (left) and Emon van Loben Sels hold the Dennis Rizza Classic doubles trophy at Jack Kramer Club. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)
The collegiate courts were the great unknown to Spencer Johnson and Emon van Loben Sels last season.
Neither of the freshmen were active in dual-match play – the latter watched from the sidelines during his redshirt year and the former was yet to begin his Bruin career.
Most recruits enter their college tennis careers with extensive hard-court competition under their belts.
Gianluca Ballotta didn’t fit that mold.
While UCLA men’s tennis’ rising sophomore has played high-level tennis for years, the 19-year-old Peruvian did so almost exclusively on clay.
The highest honors at tennis’s most storied tournament have eluded former Bruins for nearly a decade.
This year, a cast of five seeks grass glory, and the last one from the school to win it all will be among them.
While most children learn how to lace up their sneakers in school or at home, Caroline Goldberg had a different backdrop.
As the daughter of two UCLA alumni, Goldberg learned to tie her shoes in Pauley Pavilion, making the most of the timeouts during games.
This post was updated May 11 at 10:14 p.m.
Decade after decade, the Bruins thrived.
Sixteen NCAA titles, 43 conference championships and 62 top-five finishes.
But that time is over.
This post was updated May 4 at 10:36 p.m.
The Bruins’ season could be titled as the tale of the three freshmen.
Although UCLA men’s tennis coach Billy Martin upholds the cliche that with age comes experience, three freshmen wouldn’t have taken over half of the singles spots in nearly every match if he didn’t think their efforts would be rewarded.
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