Nov. 15, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ty Tucker and the Ohio State men’s tennis program has been ranked in the top-10 of collegiate tennis for the last 12 seasons and it’s hard to imagine that changing in the near future as the Buckeyes have signed two of the top junior players in the country in John McNally and JJ Wolf.
McNally and Wolf are two of the top-3 ranked US juniors in the ITF World Junior rankings and the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked players in the 2017 class according to Tennisrecruiting.net. The pair has also shown up on the biggest stages, winning the 2016 National Hardcourt doubles title and competing in the main draw of the men’s US Open Grand Slam Doubles this past summer.
“To be able to land the doubles team that won nationals and two guys that we feel are the top two players in American junior tennis is a big get for the Buckeyes,” said Tucker, Ohio State’s Director of Tennis.
McNally has been atop the junior rankings for most of his junior career and was the No. 1 ranked recruit in 2014 and 2016 by Tennisrecruiting.net. McNally played in three of the four Junior Grand Slams in 2016, advancing to the round of 16 at Wimbledon and the doubles quarterfinals at the French Open. A multiple Midwest and national tournament champion, McNally won the 2014 hard court doubles title in addition to his 2016 national doubles title with Wolf. He also won the 2014 National Hard Court 16’s singles title, the 2014 International Spring Championship in Carson, the 2014 Easter Bowl and was the 2012 US Winter nationals-AZ singles and doubles champion in the boys 14.
This past summer, McNally reached the doubles final at the ATP Hardigen Futures event and rose to as high as No. 13 in the ITA Junior World Rankings. The Madeira High School star has been coached by his mother Lynn as well as Kevin O’Neill who has coached multiple ATP players, Wil Lofgren and Mr. Cook. Currently, McNally is ranked 1538 in the ATP singles rankings and 976 in the doubles rankings.
“John has proven himself over and over that he’s one of the best players in junior tennis,” Tucker said. “He’s won three national championships in the 16s and 18s and he’s a guy we expect to be an All-American sooner rather than later in his career. We look forward to big time things from John here at Ohio State.”
Wolf has been ranked in the top-5 of his recruiting class since he was 10 years old and has been ranked as high as 14 in the ITF world junior rankings. He had a tremendous 2016 as in addition to his national doubles titles with McNally, he played in three of the four Junior Grand Slams — US Open, Wimbledon, and French Open – and reached the round of 16 at the US Open after reaching the round of 32 the previous year. Wolf, who won multiple matches over top-10 ITF junior players in 2016, also won the 2016 ITF Grade One Coffee Bowl singles title, was a finalist at the ITF 36th Asuncion Bowl Grade One and a semifinalist in the ITF Grade One 38° Torneo Internazionale “Città Di Santa Croce” Mauro Sabatini. He currently has an ATP doubles ranking of 1268.
In 2015, Wolf enjoyed similar success as he won the singles title and was a doubles finalist at the Boy’s 16 Winter Nationals after winning both titles at the National Selection Orlando, Florida Boy’s 18.
Wolf, who is a two-sport standout at Cincinnati Country Day in both tennis and soccer, is coached by his father Jeff Wolf and David Kass, who was a three-time collegiate All-American and was ranked as high as 288 in the ATP singles rankings.
“JJ is one of the best athletes in the world of junior tennis,” said Tucker. “He has a huge forehand and a big first serve. His potential is unlimited and he has an opportunity to be an All-American early in his career.”
Both McNally and Wolf are from Cincinnati, Ohio so the draw of playing for a top-tier program in their home state was not only big for the players but for their families as well.
“Not only are they great players but their families are well respected and well known in the tennis circles across America,” Tucker said. “With their extended family and all of the family members they have, John and JJ’s presence will not only be felt on the court but we expect to see a strong contingent of Wolfs and McNallys in the stands at all of our matches. I think it’s a wonderful thing that they are able to play such high-level tennis at a place like Ohio State because a lot of their family member don’t get a chance to actually see them play a lot of tennis and to see just how great they are. Now, they will be able to support them through 100 home matches over the course of their careers. I’m not only excited for John and JJ but for their families as well.”
Both families are well respected in the tennis circles for a good reason. Members on both sides have played tennis at the highest level and have competed on a national stage.
“It’s amazing to see these guys continue the tennis success that their families have had,” Tucker continued. “Both of the mothers played collegiate tennis and their grandfathers were great athletes.”
Wolf’s grandfather Charles played football at Notre Dame, his father Jeff played basketball at Rollins College and is a member of the school’s athletics hall of fame, his mother Brooke was an All-MAC tennis player at Miami and his sister Danielle is currently a sophomore on the women’s tennis team.
McNally’s mother Lynn was also ranked No. 1 nationally at the junior level and played collegiately at Northwestern. She went on to win a pair of professional doubles crowns. McNally’s grandfather Denny Nabors was a letterwinner for the Buckeyes on the tennis court in 1959. He and his wife Rolene have been tremendous supporters of Ohio State athletics throughout the years and have endowed a pair of scholarships for OSU tennis and football.
The signing of both John McNally and JJ Wolf is just the start in the latest chapters of two great athletes and their families.