Men's Tennis

Two Wildcats Ranked Within Top 10 of Singles for First Time in History

by Ryan Cullinane

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After its best finish in program history, Kentucky men’s tennis was rewarded in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, tying for its second-highest finish at No. 7. UK also ends the year with four athletes featured in the singles rankings, including two that finished in the top 10 for the first time in school history, and two tandems in doubles. 
 
Kentucky concluded its season by making its first appearance in both the NCAA Tournament Final Four and National Championship match, finishing as the national runner-up.
 
The Wildcats finished with a 26-8 overall record, with their only losses coming to teams nationally ranked within the top 13. The school also tied for second in the Southeastern Conference standings, going 10-2 and advancing to the SEC Tournament Finals for the first time since 2012.
 
The 2021 ITA Player of the Year Liam Draxl followed up his historic sophomore campaign with an impressive junior season, finishing in the rankings at No. 6 and leading the team in ranked wins with 10. The Newmarket, Ontario native anchored UK’s top position and earned 16 wins on the year, half of which came during conference play. Draxl was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team on court one and the All-SEC First Team. His best win came against Ohio State’s Cannon Kingsley in a three-set thriller which clinched UK’s spot in the title match. 
 
Gabriel Diallo had his best year during his junior season, leading the team in wins with a staggering 38-8 record and was named to both the All-SEC First Team and SEC Tournament Team. Diallo held his highest position in the singles rankings at No. 4 and his best finish at No. 8. A native to Montreal, Diallo split time between courts two and three, compiling a 21-4 record in dual matches. He finished with seven match-clinching points, including one against TCU’s Juan Carlos Aguilar to put Kentucky in its first Final Four in program history. In the individual NCAA Tournament, Diallo took down two ranked opponents en route to his first Elite Eight appearance. 
 
Millen Hurrion concluded his collegiate tennis career with his highest end-of-season singles ranking at No. 45 and the All-SEC Second Team. The fifth year student was the team captain of the most successful season in Kentucky men’s tennis history and capped off the year on a 10-match win streak. Hurrion also was included on UK’s two ranked doubles tandems, slotting at No. 55 with Francois Musitelli and No. 72 with Draxl. In his final match at the Hilary J. Boone Center, the Weymouth, England native notched the match-clinching victory to send the Wildcats to Champaign, Illinois, and the Elite Eight. 
 
It could be argued that sophomore Joshua Lapadat holds the title for most improved on the Kentucky roster. Lapadat finished as the 121st-ranked singles player in the country, tied for the most dual match wins on the team with 21 and finished SEC play with a perfect 11-0 record. In just his second year playing college tennis, Lapadat earned a spot on the SEC Tournament Team and the All-SEC Second Team. The London, Ontario native also earned the most wins in doubles this year with 25. 

Kentucky finished as the only school in the country to have two players represented in the top 10 of the singles rankings. 
 
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter and Facebook, @kentuckymenstennis on Instagram, and on the web at UKAthletics.com.

 
– GO CATS –
For more information contact:
Ryan Cullinane (rrcu222@uky.edu) – (859) 257-8309

Related Stories

View all