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Depth of UCLA men’s tennis roster to keep team afloat in upcoming top-25 matches

Redshirt senior Govind Nanda extends his reach and leaps to return the ball. The veteran ranks among the top 30 singles players in the nation in his first season back to collegiate tennis after a two-year hiatus. (Jeremy Chen/Photo editor)

Men's Tennis


UC Irvine
Thursday, 1 p.m.

Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA Live Stream

By Jeremy Chen

March 6, 2024 3:46 p.m.

Billy Martin raved about the depth of his team’s roster.

“Gosh, it’s been a godsend,” the coach said.

The Bruins will need every bit of it for their upcoming stretch.

UCLA men’s tennis (5-2) takes on UC Irvine (6-3) on Thursday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, with first serve set for 1 p.m. It then faces a gauntlet of top-25 opponents, including No. 2 TCU (10-1), No. 6 Columbia (9-2), No. 7 Arizona (12-2), No. 8 Harvard (10-4) and No. 18 Arizona State (10-5), within the month.

At the forefront of this added depth is No. 28 Govind Nanda, who is returning from tour during the 2021-2023 seasons. The redshirt senior has rattled off three consecutive wins at No. 1 singles stats and shot into the top 50 after Feb. 20.

Nanda said it took a few matches to transition back into collegiate tennis, especially after coming back from an injury in the fall.

“Doing PT (physical therapy) five, six times a week helps, getting massages here and there helps,” he said. “Just really staying on top of taking care of my body.”

Nanda hasn’t just bolstered the Bruins’ singles lineup – he has won three straight doubles matches with redshirt junior Jeffrey Fradkin, who paired up with the former after junior Alexander Hoogmartens went down with an injury and hasn’t played the last few matches.

Fradkin and Nanda aren’t the only ones on a hot doubles match streak.

Redshirt freshman Emon van Loben Sels and freshman Spencer Johnson have yet to lose a doubles match this season.

“Especially as roommates, we have a good connection,” van Loben Sels said. “I think chemistry is probably one of the most important things for doubles, so that carries over to our results.”

The Bruins – whose only ranked matchups thus far were a loss to then-No. 15 Harvard and then-No. 19 Texas A&M – will need to harness that same chemistry for the rest of the matches in their 17-day homestand.

Martin said the team’s depth, which differs greatly from the skeleton crew of the last two years, will keep it afloat through the month’s bouts. He added that the team is ready for anything and the 11-player roster is a luxury.

“We can deal with the unexpected things, whether it be an injury, sickness, mandatory midterm or whatever,” Martin said. “There’s always some things that just hit you right between the eyes that you’re not expecting.”

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Jeremy Chen
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
Chen is a Photo editor and a sports contributor on the men's tennis beat. He is a fourth-year cognitive science student pursuing a minor in film, television, and digital media, and he is from Alameda, California. He was previously an assistant Photo editor on the Sports beat.
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