COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior captains Bryan Koniecko, the nation’s top-ranked singles player, and Steven Moneke, who sits at No. 3 in the standings, shared their thoughts on Ohio State’s No. 1 ranking, their individual success and the Buckeyes’ difficult 2009 schedule which includes an upcoming road trip to No. 22 North Carolina Friday and No. 21 Wake Forest Sunday.
The Scarlet and Gray opened the 2009 season ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history. The men’s tennis team is the first Ohio State program to earn a preseason ranking of No. 1 since the 2006 football squad.
Under head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have been ranked in the Top 20 of the ITA rankings for five-consecutive years. The past two seasons, Ohio State has earned a preseason ranking of No. 3 and finished third behind Georgia and Virginia both in 2007 and 08. Prior to that, the Buckeyes ranked 18th in 2006 and 11th in 2005 heading into the season.
Ohio State is the only team to have three student-athletes currently ranked in the singles Top 10 of the ITA NCAA Division I rankings announced Jan. 6. Koniecko ranks No. 1, while teammates Moneke and Justin Kronauge rank Nos. 3 and 6, respectively. Koniecko is the first Buckeye to sit in the top singles seed since Jeremy Wurtzman did so in 2004. This ranking comes after the Long Island, N.Y., native took the crown at both the 2008 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional with teammate Kronauge receiving runner-up awards in both.
Over the weekend, Moneke moved up a spot in the Ohio State record book for career singles wins. The Alten-Busick, Germany, native defeated Njal Stene 6-3, 6-1 to give the Buckeyes an early 3-0 advantage over Stetson Saturday and move to fourth on the all-time career singles wins list with 114. Moneke passed Ohio State alum Mike Massie’s (1983-86) 113 career wins and only needs two more wins to tie former teammate Devin Mullings (2003-07) for third at 116. Former Buckeye Vince Ng (1999-03) holds the all-time record with 132 career singles wins.