Mackie McDonald reached the pinnacle of college tennis, and like many UCLA tennis greats in the past, will now try to replicate his success on the professional tour.
UCLA men’s tennis announced Thursday morning on Twitter that the junior will forego his final year of NCAA eligibility.
McDonald, currently ranked No. 420 in the world, also signed an exclusive worldwide representation agreement with Octagon, whose clients include Martina Hingis, Michael Phelps and Stephen Curry.
“After we came back from Tulsa, we didn’t discuss it much,” said associate head coach Grant Chen. “He focused on his final exams, and when school finished, he had a chance to talk about it with his family and close friends to see what their thoughts are, and he came up with the decision this morning.”
McDonald finishes his collegiate career as a three-time singles All-American, 2016 doubles All-American and No. 1 in both the singles and doubles rankings.
While McDonald proved himself to be one of the top collegiate players, he also triumphed against professional competition.
In 2013, McDonald defeated two top-100 opponents to become the first unranked player ever to qualify for an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event. At the ATP Challenger Tour event in Champaign, Illinois, last fall, the Piedmont, California, native was two wins away from receiving a main draw wild card into the Australian Open.
McDonald compiled an 84-15 singles record at UCLA, competing at the No. 1 spot his sophomore and junior seasons. In his absence, the Bruins have a hole at the top of their lineup.
Similar situations have come up recently, Chen said, with the early departures of Marcos Giron, Daniel Kosakowski and Dennis Novikov to the pro level. When Giron left after the 2014 season, UCLA signed current sophomore Martin Redlicki to replace him. Chen said the Bruins’ coaching staff will again head to the recruiting trail.
“We’ll continue to recruit and obviously now that Mackie has turned pro, we’ll see if there are any options in players out there that might help our program,” Chen said.