After a very impressive showing at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships where Petros Chrysochos reached the finals of the singles draw, while he and Skander Mansouri took home the doubles title(in their first tournament as partners), the ITA national rankings panel tapped the Demon Deacons as the number 1 team heading into the season. In the Men’s realm, 5 teams were ranked in the top 25(Wake, UNC, UVA, FSU, and Duke), with UNC joining Wake Forest in the top 10 in the 3rd spot.
A month ago, Coach Tony Bresky announced 3 more additions to this already pretty good team. Rrezart Cungu from Montenegro (who boasted a career high 810 ATP ranking along with 4 Davis Cup matches), Ian Dempster from Texas (Graduate student and doubles specialist at NC State), and Eduardo Nava from California (Former Blue Chip Recruit and transfer from TCU). This news along with All-American Sophomore Borna Gojo deciding to return this year, the ceiling is the roof for this team.
Per any good team, a good schedule follows them. The Deacs start the season with dual matches at home vs Coastal Carolina and Elon on January 23rd and then host an ITA Kick-off Weekend on the 26th facing off against Old Dominion and then will face either Vanderbilt or Portland the next day. Then things get a little tough.
The Deacs have home matches against the likes of Southern California, Illinois, and Florida among others. Let’s break them down real fast:
USC: #5 ranked team, roster is loaded with ranked players led by All American Sophomore Brandon Holt who was selected as one of the USA’s top collegiate players to play in the BNP Paribas International Collegiate Team Competition
Illinois: Ranked 16th and have one of most balanced rosters top to bottom and led by 2 time ITA All American Aleks Vukic who was ranked as high as 3rd last year and recorded wins against the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players in the nation last year.
Florida: Perennial top 10 team, returns 2x ITA All American Alfredo Perez(ended the fall #8 in the country in singles), All-American Johannes Ingildsen(teamed with Perez and ended the fall as the No. 1 ranked doubles team and No. 7 in Singles) and just happened to poach for the spring Sam Riffice(No. 2 recruit in the country for 2018, No. 18 in ITF Junior rankings, competed in Junior Wimbledon, French Open and US Open), Lukas Greif(No. 6 recruit for 2018, No. 63 in ITF Junior rankings, also competed in Junior Wimbledon, French Open and US Open, and Oliver Crawford(No. 5 recruit in the country for 2017, No. 41 in ITF Junior rankings, competed in Junior Wimbledon, French Open and US Open)
So yeah... pretty good opponents coming to Winston-Salem this year which should make for some fantastic matches. On the road the Deacs get UNC and UVA.
UNC: If you remember, this team toppled Wake at the NCAA championships last year and return most of that team including sophomore 2x All American and 2017 singles Runner-up William Blumberg.
UVA: graduated a decent amount of talent from last year but they operate on reload, not rebuild by signing players such as Gianni Ross( No. 2 recruit for 2017, No. 13 in ITF junior rankings, competed in Junior Wimbledon, French Open and US Open, and played in the 2014 Junior Davis cup) This team should not be taken lightly.
Overall I see this Wake team taking the ACC crown, but it’s a long season. Congrats to the Deacs for starting out on top and here’s to a healthy and title-filled season. Go Deacs!