TCU coach David Roditi spent his first four years building a foundation for the program, but the addition of three freshmen completed the process and set the stage for the No. 6-ranked Horned Frogs’ return toward the top of college tennis.
The effort has put TCU in position to make a strong run in the NCAA tournament. The Frogs (21-7) are the No. 5 overall seed and will host the first two rounds in the Fort Worth Regional, today and Saturday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center on the TCU campus.
The Fort Worth Regional opens with No. 30-ranked Tulsa (17-12) against No 37 North Carolina State (17-11) at 11 a.m. Friday. The Frogs will play Metro Athletic champion Marist (15-7) in the second match at 2 p.m. The winners meet at 5 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the NCAA Championships on May 14-25 at Baylor’s Hurd Tennis Center in Waco.
The TCU women’s team, led by All-Big 12 players Simona Parajova, Stefanie Tan and Seda Arantekin, is also in regional action as the No. 2 seed at the College Station Regional. The No. 17 Frogs meet Notre Dame at 9 a.m. Saturday. The winner will play the winner between No. 1 seed Texas A&M and Alcorn State.
While the TCU men are led by a strong group of seniors, the addition of freshmen Cameron Norrie from New Zealand, Trevor Johnson of Las Vegas, and Guillermo Nunez of Chile has transformed the Frogs this season.
“Obviouisly, the seniors getting better was a factor, but the freshmen coming in was the biggest factor,” senior Nick Chappell said. “With three freshmen playing in singles and doubles, that’s a big deal. They all have a high pedigree, and we all knew what they could do coming into college. Seeing them in practice every day, we knew we had something special.”
Norrie arrived at TCU after a junior career that included playing on all four Grand Slam junior events and reaching No. 10 in the world in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings. Norrie has won 22 matches at the No. 2 position to climb to No. 39 in the nation in singles. The lefty has already earned a bid to compete in singles and doubles (with Johnson) at the NCAA individual championships later this month in Waco.
Nunez has won a team-high 25 of 30 singles matches at TCU’s No. 3 spot and was chosen freshman of the year in the Big 12. He reached No. 9 in the world in the ITF junior rankings before coming to TCU. He was the No. 1 player from South America and was the top-ranked junior in Chile from 2009 until last year. He played in the juniors draw at Wimbledon, U.S. Open, and the French Open, where he reached the quarterfinals 2013.
Johnson has been a fixture in doubles, but he is likely to take his place on the singles court in the near future. He signed with TCU as one of the top Americans after competing in multiple tournaments for the USTA Boys’ 18 National Team.
“Cameron Norrie, Guillermo Nunez and Trevor Johnson were recruited by every school in the country,” Roditi said. “That’s the reason why we’re good this year. We are able to combine a very good senior class with a very high level — the best — recruiting class we’ve ever had. It’s a great combo.”
This will be TCU’s 26th appearance in the NCAA tournament and its first as a regional host since 2001.
Fort Worth Regional
Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, TCU
No. 37 North Carolina State vs. No. 30 Tulsa, 11 a.m.
No. 6. TCU vs. Marist, 2 p.m.
Regional final, 5 p.m.
Tickets: Adults $10, ages 3-17 $5, TCU students free
Note: Limited parking will be available in Lot 14 and additional parking with a shuttle service can be found in Lot 2 on both match days.