Senior Christian Sigsgaard entered the Southern Intercollegiate Championships at Athens, Georgia, ranked No. 2 in the nation in the ITA preseason rankings. Sigsgaard certainly proved it was no fluke as he took home both the singles title and the doubles title with freshman Siem Woldeab.
In defeating the country’s No. 81 player in Philip Henning of Georgia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, Sigsgaard won the Red Draw bracket to take his singles title.
“There’s definitely a target on my back,” Sigsgaard said. “I saw that last weekend when I was ranked No. 2. But the ranking doesn’t mean anything when you’re out there playing.”
That target on his back will stay on Sigsgaard and the rest of the 2019 NCAA champion tennis team when they play in the ITA All-American Championships this weekend.
“When I was a freshman and ranked like top five, I worried a little too much about losing and what it would mean to my rating,” Sigsgaard said. “But as a senior, I’ve gotten used to it, and now it’s just about playing well and not about being ranked so much.”
Texas will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the championships. It’s a crucial test for the many freshmen.
“I tell the freshmen it’s about consistency,” sophomore Chih Chi Huang said. “You’re going to have ups and downs through the season, so it’s about how you can get up from the downs as soon as possible.”
This year’s freshman class is the top recruiting class in the country, including Jacob Bullard, Evin McDonald, Eshan Talluri and Siem Woldeab in addition to redshirt freshman Cleeve Harper.
Woldeab in particular has been impressive in the opening three tournaments, winning the Gamecock Invitational in South Carolina. The California native defeated teammate and the nation’s No. 4 player Yuya Ito to clinch the singles title.
He continued his strong play, winning a doubles title with Sigsgaard in Athens with an impressive 6-2 win over No. 4-ranked doubles team Johannes Ingildsen and Brian Berdusco of Florida.
“It’s a great win and a great weekend to bond with the new freshmen and see how well they’re doing,” Sigsgaard said. “Just being there and inspiring the guys to do well is always nice.”
For the Longhorns as a whole, their first few invitational and championship titles have shown that they’re ready to defend their national title.
“We obviously have a ton of expectations,” Huang said. “But we’re not going to take that as any extra pressure or anything. I think we’re all ready and we’re all excited.”