At a special ceremony at the IMG Academy Golf Club, May 18, the IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis program honored its student-athletes who went above and beyond in pursuit of honing their skills in tennis, on and off the court. The event began with a welcome address by Rohan Goetzke, Director of Bollettieri Tennis, followed by dinner, then a speech by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.
The awards presented included the following...
On May 20, IMG Academy celebrated the college decisions of more than 230 class of 2016 senior and post-graduate student-athletes who have committed to colleges and universities at the annual Spring College Commitment Ceremony. The ceremony took place at IMG Academy Stadium.
The full list of commitments celebrated at the Commitment Ceremony includes:
IMG Academy alumnus Jake Hansen made an immediate impact for the Rice Owls as a freshman, and was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year, and earned All C-USA Singles Second Team honors. The IMG Academy class of 2015 graduate finished the spring season tied with fellow freshman Emanuel Llamas for second on the team with 14 singles wins for 14-3 overall mark, including an 11-3 record at No. 4. Hansen also led the Owls in singles wins in the fall with a 7-3 record.
Clay Donato was a talented tennis player, and made his mark at the collegiate level after moving on with the class of 2006. Donato initially signed with Texas A&M, but transferred to North Carolina where he racked up All-American and All-ACC honors.
A native of Sugarland, Texas, just outside of metropolitan Houston, Theo Tran enrolled at IMG Academy more than four years ago with a mission. He wanted to push his limits and learn to thrive independently.
“Being a student at IMG has taught me how to be diligent and effectively manage my time,” said Theo on why he wanted to attend IMG Academy. “I came here to improve at my sport, tennis, but it was more important to me to learn how to be my own person away from home.”
Pyne started working at IMG during the summer of 2014. Prior to IMG, Pyne competed on the Division I level for her first three seasons of competition at the University of South Florida. She was as a member of the Bulls' Big East runner-up squads in 2011 and 2012 and made an NCAA appearance in 2010. Pyne finished her schooling and tennis career at the University of Tampa where she competed while maintaining a 4.0 grad-point average.
With clay season in full swing until the French Open that begins on May 22, ESPN's Peter Bodo took stock of IMG Academy alumnus Kei Nishikori's prowess on clay. Nishikori, at present, is competing at the Barcelona Open, and event that he has won each of the past two years. If Nishikori can complete the three-peat, he would be only the third player in history to win three consecutive Barcelona Opens, joining Mats Wilander and Rafael Nadal.
It has been a big week for IMG Academy student Katarina Kozarov. She signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Furman University women’s tennis team mid-week, then the Novi Sad, Serbia native won the Women’s Draw of the 2016 Sarasota Open on Sunday. In the final, Kozarov bested Gia Cohen with a spirited late rally, 1-6, 7-5 (10-3) to take the title.
The NCAA Regular Signing Period began on April 13, and at a special ceremony this week, 26 Ascenders were honored as they signed National Letters of Intents. With the current signing period ongoing until August 1, 2016, this week’s signees marked only the latest wave of many more commitments to come over the next several months as students make their final decisions.