Senior Niall Fitzgerald won the singles title at the David Lloyd National Indoor Championships in his native Ireland.

Irish Men's Tennis Players Earn Preseason Rankings

Sept. 9, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A trio of Notre Dame men’s tennis student-athletes received rankings in the annual preseason polls released on Friday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Senior Casey Watt is ranked No. 28 in singles to open the 2011-12 season, while the doubles duo of senior Niall Fitzgerald and junior Spencer Talmadge are ranked No. 21.

“We are always pleased when our players are rewarded individually for their hard work,” said veteran head coach Bobby Bayliss. “However, none of our team goals involve individual accolades. We are more interested in working hard this fall to prepare for the upcoming 2012 season.”

Watt, who ended the 2010-11 season ranked 64th, returns for his senior campaign after earning All-BIG EAST honors last season and participating in the singles portion of the NCAA Tournament. A total of 125 singles players are ranked in the preseason by the ITA.

“Casey has worked extremely hard this summer to improve upon his results from last season,” said Bayliss. “We are excited to see what he does this season.”

Talmadge and Fitzgerald ended last season at 22-17 overall in doubles, finishing the year ranked 78th. The ITA ranks 60 doubles teams in the preseason polls.

“They improved greatly as the season went along last year and deserve this ranking,” said Bayliss. “We think they are capable of being one of the best teams in the country.”

Notre Dame returns 11 players from an 18-12 season that saw the Irish finish second at the BIG EAST Tournament and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Irish open the fall campaign on Sept. 16-18, when they travel to Chicago, Ill., for the Illini Invitational.