MALIBU, Calif. - The road to the 2013 NCAA Tournament for the Pepperdine men's tennis team begins this week as the Waves start practice and compete at the Olympia Fields Country Club Invitational on Sept. 14-16. The event, which features both a singles and doubles tournament, is unique to college tennis in that it will be contested on Har-Tru green clay courts.
Four members of the squad will be traveling to Olympia Fields, Ill. for the tournament including two-time ITA American Sebastian Fanselow (Essen, Germany/Kaplan College Prep) who opens the year listed at #3 in the preseason singles rankings. Although the senior has never played on a green clay surface before, he did experience tremendous success on red clay over the summer, winning a pro futures tournament in Trier, Germany.
Although they won't be competing this weekend, Finn Tearney (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and Kento Tanaka-Tamaki (Kihei, Hawaii/St. Anthony Junior-Senior HS) also return from last season's NCAA semifinalist squad.
With less than a week of practice under their belt, the Waves are wasting no time getting back into collegiate competition. The OFCC Invitational, located in the south suburbs of Chicago, has a A-list lineup with players from Notre Dame, Illinois, Cal, Texas and Kentucky slated to compete.
"This will be a great test to see how hard the guys have worked over the summer, and a chance for our student-athletes to play in an event that we have never gone to before," said head coach Adam Steinberg, now in his 11th season in Malibu. "The competition will be tough and this is really a great way to get the season started."
LOOKING AHEAD - The next tournament on the docket is the ITA All-American Championship in Tulsa, Okla. where Hovhannisyan, Fanselow and Tearney will be playing against the best players in the country. This will be an ideal opportunity to see where the Waves compare to the other powerhouse players in the nation, as well as gauge how much the team will need to improve going into the spring season.
COVERAGE - Recaps to this weekend's tournament will be available at www.PepperdineSports.com.
TWITTER - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PeppTennis or @PepperdineWaves and "like" us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics.
Adam Steinberg -- Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg enters the 2012 season with a career record of 276-149 including a 146-70 mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured six WCC conference championships, six appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 16 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year six times. Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John's for five seasons apiece.
2012 MEN'S DUAL RECAP -- The Waves finished the 2012 season with a 27-7 record and concluded the season ranked #6 in the Campbell's/ITA Collegiate Rankings. The men's squad won a program-record 24 dual matches in a row and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting Georgia 4-3 in the quarterfinals. The previous win-streak record was held by the 1985 team that strung together 20 wins, finishing the season 30-7 and ranked #6 in the country.
2012 AWARDS RECAP - Sebastian Fanselow was named the Pepperdine Athletics Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Daniel Moss was voted Wave of the Year. Fanselow was also named WCC Player of the Year. Fanselow and Finn Tearney made the All-WCC singles first team roster, while Alex Llompart was a second team honoree. In doubles, the duos of Tearney/Llompart and Jenson Turner/Fanselow were voted to the All-WCC first team, and David Sofaer/Hugh Clarke picked up on an honorable mention. Sofaer earned WCC All-Academic team recognition. Adam Steinberg was recognized as the WCC Co-Coach of the Year. On Monday, the ITA released its regional awards winners. Steinberg was named Southwest Coach of the Year. Fanselow was dubbed the Player to Watch in the Southwest region and later recognized as the national award winner. He also picked up All-American accolades in singles for the second-straight year.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS - With a career singles win tally of 76 (dual matches only), senior Alex Llompart is ranks tied for seventh in the career wins category at Pepperdine. Sebastian Fanselow and Jenson Turner's career win total as a doubles team stands at 34, which ranks fifth in the Waves' history. Hugh Clarke and David Sofaer's current winning percentage of .857 (24-4) ranks 10th in the single season winning percentage category, while the total number of wins sits in a tie for second place.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.