Sept. 10, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Eight of the nation’s best men’s collegiate tennis players – including standout University of Notre Dame senior Quentin Monaghan – will unofficially kick of the 2015-16 season Thursday when the second annual American Collegiate Invitational gets underway at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.
The American Collegiate Invitational, open only to American college players, began last year as a way to spotlight college tennis during the US Open. Eight men and eight women will play single-elimination singles tournaments Thursday to Saturday during the second week of the US Open, with the winners receiving a wild card into the 2016 US Open, main draw or qualifying, depending on their ranking next summer.
“It’s an absolute honor to be considered one of those players,” Monaghan said. “Playing at the US Open (site) is just so special. It’s a place that, living in New Jersey [growing up], I’ve gone since I was eight or nine years old every year. It’s really fun and probably the best place you could play tennis at, so the environment is pretty good.”
The fields are comprised of the top two players in the ATP/WTA rankings (as of June 1) and the top five players in the year-end ITA singles rankings (excluding those selected by pro ranking), including at least two graduating seniors or players who have turned pro or exhausted their collegiate eligibility. Monaghan, who ended the 2015 season at No. 7 in the Oracle/ITA men’s singles rankings, will join Gonzalez Austin (No. 10, Vanderbilt), Mitchell Frank (No. 17, Virginia), Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (No. 12 Virginia), Winston Lin ( No. 15 Columbia), Mackenzie McDonald (No. 3, UCLA) and reigning NCAA singles champion Ryan Shane (No. 2 Virginia), as well wild card selection Dennis Mkrtchian (No. 30, UCLA). McDonald is ranked No. 730, while Kwiatkowski comes in at No. 815 as the top two players in the ATP rankings.
“It’s a great start to the year for [Monaghan],” Fighting Irish head coach Ryan Sachire said. “There will be a lot of high-level players with a field this limited and he’s bound to get great practices, great matches and should give him a good kickstart into the 2015-16 season.”
Monaghan, a native of Chatham, New Jersey, broke out during the 2014-15 collegiate season, compiling a a 33-7 singles record, including a 20-3 mark in dual play. He advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship and finished the season ranked No. 7 in the final Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings to become the first Irish All-American since Stephen Bass finished the season with a No. 10 singles ranking in 2007.
After his successful junior campaign, Monaghan – who is familiar with the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, having played high school and juniors matches there, including a win in a national open – is relishing the opportunity to pick up where he left off and kick off his senior season with a chance to also kickstart a professional career after graduation.
“I couldn’t ask for a better start to the year,” Monaghan said. “It’ll be a really fun event. Playing at the US Open, the players in the field and the environment will really get me competing at a high level and carrying myself professionally, doing what it takes to compete with that level is a great start to get my mindset ready for the rest of the fall.”
Monaghan will square off with No. 2 seeded McDonald in first-round action at on Court 5 following the noon ET match between Shane and Mkrtchian. Live scoring will be available on USOpen.org.
Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant