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Women’s tennis player Abbey Forbes transfers to North Carolina for final 2 seasons

Former UCLA women’s tennis player Abbey Forbes hits a backhand. Forbes transferred to North Carolina for her final two seasons of eligibility. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

By Olivia Simons

July 1, 2022 1:30 p.m.

Abbey Forbes had never anticipated transferring.

But despite her attempt to remain in Westwood, the former Bruin will now be heading home.

The former UCLA women’s tennis player announced May 25 in an Instagram post that she will be transferring to North Carolina to use her final two years of eligibility as a graduate transfer. Forbes played for the Bruins for three years and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in the spring. However, she will be finishing her collegiate tennis career with the Tar Heels, pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.

“We loved having Abbey as a Bruin and are sorry to see her go, but she did an amazing job to graduate from UCLA in three years and is ready to pursue her master’s at UNC,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster in an emailed statement.

In September, Forbes confirmed she had two years of NCAA eligibility remaining and began searching for her best two-year degree options. According to Forbes, she decided on pursuing an MBA in order to gain the managerial and financial experience needed to potentially play professional tennis.

Without prior work experience, however, Forbes was turned away by her first choice – the UCLA Anderson School of Management. After talking to assistant athletic director of compliance & student-athlete services Teri Carson, she decided to enter the transfer portal in order to explore other options.

“It (transferring) wasn’t something that I had been thinking about before,” Forbes said. “I was thinking about it solely because my school just wasn’t an option for me.”

A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Forbes also said being close to family – particularly her brother Luke – contributed to her decision to transfer.

Luke had been undergoing leukemia treatment for the duration of Forbes’ time in Westwood, and she said it was challenging to be away from him in California. However, enrolling at North Carolina allows Abbey to be home to see Luke finish his treatments in August.

“It’s very important to me that I’m with my family during that time,” Forbes said. “We’re celebrating the end of a three-year milestone, and he deserves to have his sister there to support him when he rings that bell.”

Forbes said while her coaches and teammates were sad to see her leave, they were supportive of her decision to transfer.

“They didn’t have to treat me with as much respect and integrity as they did,” Forbes said. “But they treated me just like nothing had happened and that I was still their teammate, their best friend, their sister, and I’m forever grateful for that.”

In her three years in Westwood, Forbes twice earned ITA All-America selections, leading the Bruins at No. 1 singles through the majority of her UCLA career. A blue-chip recruit coming out of high school, the Laurel Springs School graduate finished her freshman year with an 11-1 dual singles record, leading her team in singles wins.

In her sophomore campaign, Forbes reached No. 4 in the ITA singles rankings and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championship, earning Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year honors.

Her final year with the Bruins saw the junior continuing to lead her team on and off the court. She earned a career-high No. 23 doubles ranking with her partner, then-freshman Ava Catanzarite, and logged a 14-5 record in singles play.

“We will definitely miss her competitive fire and spirit and wish her all the best,” Sampras Webster said in the emailed statement.

Looking back on her career, Forbes said her favorite moments in the blue and gold were beating Stanford at the National ITA Indoor championships in 2020 and winning the Pac-12 regular season title in 2021. She said the latter was particularly meaningful because it represented the first outright Pac-12 championship for Forbes’ doubles partner then-graduate student Jada Hart, who was finishing her sixth and final year in Westwood.

In the coming years, Forbes said she is most looking forward to being at home and continuing her collegiate tennis career. The newly-minted Tar Heel added that she is grateful for the experiences she had at UCLA and the ones she will have at North Carolina.

“I’m just really grateful to be able to get the literal best of both worlds out of my college tennis experience,” Forbes said. “Not a whole lot of people get one good college tennis experience. I’m getting not one, but two.”

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Olivia Simons | Quad editor
Simons is the 2023-2024 Quad editor. She was previously the 2022-2023 managing editor, an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats. She is also a fourth-year student from Oakland, California.
Simons is the 2023-2024 Quad editor. She was previously the 2022-2023 managing editor, an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats. She is also a fourth-year student from Oakland, California.
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