A new competitor is threatening Georgia’s chances of hosting future NCAA Championships in men’s and women’s tennis.
Before the tennis postseason began, the NCAA announced that Georgia would not host the postseason tournament from 2019-22. Wake Forest is already set to host the 2018 tournament.
But in the coming five years, Central Florida was awarded the NCAA Championships for 2019 and 2021. That’s because of the USTA National Campus facility that now resides in Lake Nona, Florida sits on more than 63 acres of land and is considered one of the largest tennis complexes in the world.
Central Florida will have access to the facility, making it a draw for the NCAA to hold its postseason tournament.
If Georgia is to become a program that hosts the NCAA Championships regularly again, athletics director Greg McGarity said upgrades will need to be made to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
McGarity said Georgia’s goal will be to add at least two more indoor courts, which would give it a total of six. Ideally, McGarity said, the program would have 12 indoor courts so that two dual matches could take place simultaneously. With rain soaking Athens last week, one semifinals match of the women’s tournament was moved to Georgia Tech’s indoor complex.
“A perfect scenario is to have 12 indoor courts but no one has that on any facility right now,” McGarity said. “They’ll have six courts in Orlando but the USTA has done remarkable things down there to add to the opportunities the tournament will have in the future, and will have in two of those next four years.”
A lot of college tennis coaches, especially those who believe in the historical significance of Georgia hosting the NCAA Championships, were upset to find out Athens was left out in the next host-site cycle.
When UCLA men’s tennis head coach Billy Martin, 60, completed his post-match interview after the Bruins’ quarterfinals loss to Georgia at the NCAA Championships, he mentioned how he may be retired by the time Georgia gets another tournament. It seemed like something he couldn’t believe was real.
“Six years,” he said. “I may not be around by then.”