Marcos Giron entered UCLA as the No. 1 overall men’s tennis recruit in the country. Just as the highly–touted freshman was finding his form during the fall season, he suffered a wrist injury.

The injury, suffered in a loss to Vanderbilt at the ITA All-American Championships in October 2011, left serious doubts about his playing status heading into the start of the 2011-2012 regular season.

“(Giron) was always one of the best players from the juniors. He reached the final of the Orange Bowl the same year I reached the semifinals,” said redshirt freshman Karue Sell. “It was just bad luck I think, his injury. But he’s a focused guy, he practices really hard and it’s been nice to see him coming back.”

In spite of the early setback, Giron, currently a sophomore, put in the hard work and was match-ready by the start of his freshman season. However, Giron said he was still not 100 percent healthy, and not fully prepared mentally.

“It ended up not being as serious as it could have been. I think he was very lucky and that the bone healed really quickly because those little bones in the wrist can be delicate, especially for a tennis player,” coach Billy Martin said. “It was frustrating for him, we started him at six or five (singles), and by the end of the year he was at four. I think he’s really excited about the year because he’s starting it healthy. He’s … one of our hardest workers and a great team guy.”

Giron ended up having a relatively successful freshman year, compiling a record of 27-7 in singles and ending the season at a career-high No. 69 in the final ITA Single’s Rankings.

The sophomore said he believes that he can really hit his stride this year, having more experience and entering the season fully healthy. Giron is currently ranked No. 13 in the ITA Single’s Rankings and has gone 6-1 in singles play this season, helping the No. 3 Bruins to a 7-0 start.

“Last year with my broken wrist I came back, but I didn’t have the time to get physically stronger and work on my fitness,” Giron said. “During the summer and fall, I worked hard on my fitness and getting stronger, I feel like that has been a huge key to my game now. I’m not nervous playing out there now, and it’s my second year so I know what it’s like playing these schools.”

Contact Reece Foster at rfoster@media.ucla.edu.