Nov. 28, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Bartosz Sawicki of Poland and Sebastian Yllera of Argentina will join the Vols in January for the 2013 tennis season, head coach Sam Winterbotham announced.
Sawicki and Yllera will be part of a Tennessee team returning all six singles starters from a year ago, including All-SEC performers Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese. While the Vols did not add any freshmen for the fall semester, they picked up senior John Collins, who was a three-year starter at Maryland.
Sawicki, from Ponzan, Poland, has made his mark on the international stage primarily in doubles, but he has excelled in singles as well.
On the ITF junior circuit, Sawicki achieved a combined high ranking of No. 59. The right-hander was 71-43 and won six titles in doubles in his junior career.
He has already had some success on the ITF Futures tour with a career-high ATP ranking of 1,286 in singles and 811 in doubles. He won a doubles title at a Futures event in Poland in 2010, joining Libietis in having won a Futures title before arriving at UT.
"Bartosz is an extremely talented player with a great deal of international experience," Winterbotham said. "He's been one of the best juniors in the world. He overcame many obstacles to get here, but he always had confidence it would work out.
"With his personality, I could see him taking on a real leadership role with this team when he arrives."
Yllera, a right-hander with a two-handed backhand, was among the top young players in his home country of Argentina. The native of Rio Negro finished the 2011 tennis season ranked No. 2 in Argentina in the 18s age division.
"Sebastian brings an added level of skill and maturity to this team," Winterbotham said. "He's someone we'll definitely rely on when he gets settled into college tennis and the whole college environment.
"He's sacrificed a great deal the past few months to have this opportunity. He was highly recruited, and we're very excited to have Sebastian wearing the Orange and White this season."
Midseason additions have proven beneficial for the Vols the last few years.
Current touring pro Tennys Sandgren joined the 2010 team at midseason and went unbeaten during SEC play at the No. 4 position as the Vols won the conference title and reached the NCAA team final. Junior Jarryd Chaplin came in as a freshman in 2011 and made his college debut at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, helping the Vols to the title match.
The 2013 season begins at home Jan. 17 against Tennessee Tech, kicking off a stretch five home matches in six days for the Vols.