Men’s tennis team competes at the ITA All-American Championships this weekend

Nikhil Guddati, Sports Reporter

During the summer, Eliot Spizzirri played at the United States Open against one of the best players the world has to offer. Now, the sophomore is back on campus and ready to take on the best of the best at the ITA All-American Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of our guys to play against the best players in college tennis and showcase their improvement and gains,” assistant head coach Brandon Wagner said. 

Spizzirri will be joined by sophomore Micah Braswell in the main draw singles. After a successful summer for Spizzirri and a breakthrough freshman year for Braswell, there are high hopes for the pair.

The last time the ITA All-American Championships were played was in 2019 due to COVID-19, when Longhorn Yuya Ito walked away as the champion of the singles main draw.

It will be up to Spizzirri and Braswell to carry on Ito’s legacy. However, the pair is used to succeeding under pressure.

“They’re more excited to play (Braswell) because of how good of a player he proved to be last year,” Wagner said. “There’s a little bit more of a target on his back.”

However, Wagner says that Braswell is not afraid of challenges and will not “get caught up in big moments.”

Braswell will have to fight through some of the top players in college tennis, but there are high hopes for him to continue building on his past success.

A few other members of the Longhorn tennis team will be joining Spizzirri and Braswell in Tulsa. Siem Woldeab, Richard Ciamarra and Cleeve Harper will participate in the qualifying singles, and Evin McDonald and Nevin Arimilli will play in the pre-qualifying singles. 

Woldeab competed in the ITA All-American Championships back in 2019, and he hopes to build on his past performance. The junior defeated three top-40 singles opponents and three top-30 doubles opponents at the Gamecock Fall Invitational and the Southern Intercollegiate Championships back in 2019. 

Spizzirri and Woldeab will be playing as doubles partners in the main draw doubles, and they will be joined by Ciamarra/Harper and Braswell/McDonald in the qualifying doubles. 

After a few more months together, the team has only continued to get closer. This weekend is a good opportunity for the entire team to travel together to one of the biggest tournaments in the fall. 

The matches will start Saturday as the Longhorns hope to continue their past success.