Opening Weekend of Season Arrives for Men’s Tennis
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– The Navy men’s tennis team will open its fall slate of invitationals this weekend. The Mids will play host to the third annual Joe Hunt Invitational, while team captain Aries Wong (Sr., Bethesda, Md.) will compete at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.
Play at the Joe Hunt Invitational runs Friday through Sunday on all of the courts located on The Yard as well as at the Brigade Sports Complex. The 11-team field consists of players from Christopher Newport, Delaware, George Mason, George Washington, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Mary Washington, Monmouth, Navy, St. Bonaventure and Temple.
Established in 2015, the tournament is named after the 1942 graduate of the USNA who won the intercollegiate national title in singles (precursor to NCAA) in 1941 and the 1943 USTA National Championship (U.S. Open). Hunt lost his life in an aviation training accident in 1945 prior to the end of World War II. He remains the lone player in the sport’s history to have won U.S. boys (ages 15 and under), juniors (18 and under), collegiate and national / U.S. Open titles in singles. Hunt was posthumously inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.
As part of the inaugural tournament, one of the outdoor courts on the USNA was dedicated as Joe Hunt Court.
UMBC’s Jaan Kononov won the A flight in singles at the 2015 Joe Hunt Invitational, with George Washington’s Julius Tverijonas winning the flight last year.
“Beginning the fall tournament season by celebrating the most storied tennis player to represent the Naval Academy is always exciting,” said Navy head coach Chris Garner. “Joe Hunt was an incredible tennis player who put serving his country above all else. It is very important we honor his name and memory with the annual tournament. The team is looking forward to the challenge of facing some great competition over the weekend.”
This year marks the 42nd edition of the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, which makes it the longest running collegiate tennis tournament in the country outside of the NCAA Tournament. Navy as a team competed at the 2016 event when the format consisted of a four-team round robin competition. The format for the 2017 event features players competing as individuals in one singles and one doubles draw, which was the format for the tournament from its founding in 1975 through 2004. This year’s 32-player men’s singles bracket begins with first-round play Friday at the Western Racquet Club in the Milwaukee suburb of Elm Grove. Players from 13 schools including Marquette, Wisconsin, DePaul, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and Nebraska are entered, with the winner receiving a wild card entry into the Oracle Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Fall Championship in Indian Wells, Calif. The Milwaukee Tennis Classic is designated as an ITA Gold Level Event.
“The Milwaukee Tennis Classic has been in existence for over 40 years because it is one of the best run tournaments in the country,” said Garner. “A great opportunity to play among some of the best players in all of college tennis awaits in Milwaukee.”
Wong is one of 10 returning letterwinners from Navy’s 2016-17 team that posted an overall record of 22-18 and advanced to the championship match of the Patriot League Tournament. Wong earned first-team all-league honors a year ago as he compiled a 9-3 record in singles during the dual match season. This included a 5-1 record against league opponents.
Also back for the Mids are Zach Jennings (So., Snellville, Ga.), who led the team in singles wins last spring with his 15-6 record, Matthew Lee (So., San Diego, Calif.), who totaled a 10-8 singles record during the second semester, and Andrey Majkic (Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.), whose 14-8 doubles record gave him the most wins on the team during the dual match campaign by one victory over fellow returner Gabriel Pilones (So., Bradenton, Fla.).
The Mids will take part in four more fall tournaments after this opening weekend of competition. This future slate includes Navy playing host to tournaments on the weekends of Oct. 13-15, Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 10-12.