meet the Longhorns – The Daily Texan

Following a successful men’s tennis season in which Richard Ciamarra and Cleeve Harper brought home a national championship in men’s doubles, head coach Bruce Berque will lead a similar team into the 2022-23 season.

Last season was the third straight that saw a member of the team bring home Big 12 Freshman of the Year and ITA Texas Region Newcomer of the Year accolades, with sophomore Pierre-Yves Bailly doing so in 2022. Berque returns nearly every player from last year’s roster in addition to multiple from previous classes and three from the 2018-19 roster that won a team national championship. Full of experience, the Longhorns will look to bring home their second national championship under Berque.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason rankings have three Longhorns ranked within the top 40 men’s singles players, and another two pairs of Longhorns ranked within the top 50 men’s doubles pairs. Here’s a look at the five Longhorns ranked in the ITA preseason singles and doubles rankings:

Micah Braswell

Following a successful freshman year in the burnt orange, junior Micah Braswell went into last season with high hopes. He went on to have a First Team Big 12 and All-Academic Big 12 season before suffering a season-ending injury. Before the injury, he earned a spot in the singles national championship and Big 12 tournaments.

This year, Braswell will look to pick up where he left off and work toward bringing a men’s singles national championship to the Forty Acres for the first time since Steve Bryan in 1990.

Eliot Spizzirri

Returning for his third year, junior Eliot Spizzirri is set to build on his current résumé with junior teammate Siem Woldeab as one of the best doubles pairs in the Big 12. Spizzirri and Woldeab ranked as high as No. 4 during the spring season and finished as No. 9 in the ITA doubles rankings.

This season, with Ciamarra’s departure, Spizzirri is likely to join forces with Harper as Texas’ top doubles pair. Spizzirri also missed part of the fall season due to an injury, shortening his time in the singles brackets. Now healthy, he will look to come out of the gate strong and potentially bring home a trophy.

Cleeve Harper

Redshirt junior Harper enters the year off his doubles national championship with Ciamarra. Harper has cemented himself as a large part of the program’s success with his major improvement over the past couple of seasons. With a new double partner, he will be on repeat watch for another title.

Siem Woldeab

Junior Woldeab returns after a successful double season with Spizzirri. The two combined for an ITA All-American selection, national championship draw and several Big 12 accolades. The California product looks to be partnered with Bailly for the upcoming season, according to the ITA rankings.

After Bailly put up Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors, the duo could be a larger challenge than their No. 41 rank. With Woldeab’s experience and Bailly’s young talent, the pair hopes to compete at a high level as Texas’ second doubles pairing.

Pierre-Yves Bailly

The second-year Belgian student athlete is coming off an impressive season in which he took home the Longhorns’ third consecutive win in Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors and ITA Newcomer of the Year honors.

He, too, suffered from the injury bug toward the tail end of the season, causing him to withdraw from the national championship and Big 12 tournaments. Now recovered, the sophomore will hope to build on his impressive freshman campaign with a solid year in both singles and doubles play.

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