Feb. 23, 2011
Senior Boris Conkic earned SEC Player of the Week honors after turning in an undefeated performance to help lead the short-handed Tennessee lineup back to the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
The Vols (9-1) played the tournament largely without 46th-ranked sophomore Tennys Sandgren, who was able to return from illness in time to play singles in Monday's 4-0 championship loss to Virginia. Reaching the final match took a team effort, and Conkic and his fellow Volunteers were up to the task.
The senior from Novi Sad, Serbia, finished the tournament going 2-0 at No. 4 singles and 3-0 at No. 1 doubles with senior John-Patrick Smith. The two picked up their fourth ranked win at the top of the lineup, beating No. 12 Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters 9-8 (2) to clinch the doubles point against Georgia in the first round.
Since returning to Tennessee this semester, Conkic has been nearly perfect in terms of wins and losses. He has compiled a 14-1 singles record and has a team-leading 11-match winning streak. He and Smith, ranked eighth nationally, have a 12-1 record.
Conkic entered the UT history books during the National Indoors, becoming just the fourth player to ever reach 100 wins in both singles and doubles in a career. Only Smith, Byron Talbot (1985-88) and Shelby Cannon (1985-88) have accomplished the feat.
He reached both milestones over the weekend. He collected win No. 100 in singles by beating Duke's Fred Saba 6-1, 6-1 to help the Vols win 4-2 in the semifinals. A day later, he earned his 100th doubles victory by teaming up with Smith to beat Virginia's Michael Shabaz and Alex Domijan 8-4.
Conkic, a three-time All-SEC performer, is the second Vol to be named SEC Player of the Week this season, and it is the first time he has earned the weekly award in his career. Smith took the player of the week honors before the National Indoors.
The weekend tournament unofficially signaled the end of the indoor tennis season. If weather permits, the Vols will kick off the outdoor season Sunday at Barksdale Stadium against Wake Forest at 1 p.m. The match will be moved inside Goodfriend Tennis Center in the event of rain or cold temperatures.
Vols Rise to No. 2 in National Poll
Tennessee rose from third to second in the national team rankings, the ITA office released Tuesday. The Vols replaced Southern California at the No. 2 spot after the Trojans were upset by Duke in the first round of the tournament.
Virginia, four-time defending National Indoors champion, is still ranked No. 1. Ohio State reached the semifinals and is ranked No. 3.
Tuesday marked the final time the ITA rankings will be conducted using a polling method. Starting next week, the rankings will be determined by a computer formula in which teams are ranked according to their "best" wins against ranked teams and are penalized by any losses.
Boris Conkic's Results
Feb. 18 - Conkic def. Drake Bernstein, Georgia, 6-2, 6-4
Feb. 20 - Conkic def. Fred Saba, Duke, 6-1, 6-1
Doubles (with John-Patrick Smith)
Feb. 18 - Conkic/Smith def. #12 Garrapiz/Pieters, Georgia, 9-8 (2)
Feb. 19 - Conkic/Smith def. Brigham/Inbar, UCLA, 8-4
Feb. 21 - Conkic/Smith def. Shabaz/Domijan, Virginia, 8-4