Anthony Rossi, Tom Jomby, Kevin Lai Earn All-America Status
June 5, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Anthony Rossi capped off one of the most historic seasons and careers in Kentucky men's tennis history this past weekend, as he put the finishing touches on an historic 106-win career, in which he became just the 15th player all-time to eclipse the 100-win mark in UK tennis history. As the No. 6 player in the country in 2013 and earning the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Rossi is also a first-time All-American. In addition, Rossi finished the season ranked No. 2 in the Ohio Valley Region.
In addition to Rossi, freshman Kevin Lai and junior Tom Jomby were named All-Americans via virtue of finishing in the top 10 of the final ITA rankings for doubles. For Lai, he becomes only the second freshman in Kentucky men's tennis history to be named an All-American, joining Jesse Witten. Lai also becomes the first freshman to earn All-America honors in doubles in UK's rich history of tennis.
This is the first-career All-America honor for Jomby, who went 25-12 with Lai in doubles this season. The native of Nantes, France, also performed brilliantly during the dual-match season in singles, going 22-6 with a signature win over No. 4 Peter Kobelt of Ohio State, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Jomby played over 15 ranked opponents this season, and etched wins in 10 of those matches, with eight of the 10 coming in straight sets. The junior earned a selection into the NCAA Singles Championship due to his impressive play.
The native of Marseille, France, finished his career 106-34 overall, including a 25-7 record his senior season at Kentucky. In his senior season alone, Rossi defeated four top-15 opponents, had a winning record in Southeastern Conference play and clinched two matches.
"I had an amazing experience here at UK," Rossi said. "Throughout these four years, I found the right balance between having fun, playing tennis and going to school."
Rossi was asked to be the captain of the 2013 team, under the direction of first-year head coach Cedric Kauffmann, who recruited Rossi to come to Lexington from their home country, France. Kauffmann appointed Rossi the captain in the early parts of the preseason and Rossi took the leadership role necessary to lead Kentucky to one of the best seasons in school annals.
"When I first came here, I never thought I would end up at number one in the lineup," Rossi said. "I worked really hard on and off the court, but I also learned from great people. I want to thank Coach (Dennis) Emery and Coach Kauffmann for all the time and effort they spent for me."
In 2013, Rossi helped guide Kentucky to a program-first fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in Champaign, Ill. At the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Indoor Championships, he helped lead the Wildcats to a second consecutive Elite Eight, going 2-0 on the weekend, winning his matches against No. 11 Raymond Sarmiento of Southern California (6-3, 6-4) and No. 21 Nathan Pasha of Georgia (6-4, 7-6 (4)). Rossi's win against Pasha tied the overall match score at 2-2 and was instrumental in the Wildcats 4-2 upset of the sixth-ranked Bulldogs.
Rossi collected his 100th-career win on Sunday, March 31, as he defeated No. 28 Andreas Mies of Auburn 6-3, 6-1 at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center. In the historic win, Rossi broke to start the match and got up 2-0 before he was broken back to get the opening set on serve. Rossi then broke at 4-3, and served the set out at 6-3. In the second set, Rossi won the final six games of the set to take it 6-1.
Also in 2013, Rossi defeated 12 ranked opponents, the most ranked opponents he has defeated in any of his four years on campus in Lexington.
Rossi was announced as No. 5 in the ITA rankings on April 23, etching his way into the top five for the first time in his career after two landmark wins in the SEC Tournament. At the SEC Tournament in Oxford, Miss., Rossi defeated No. 12 Romain Bogaerts of Mississippi State in the opening round and No. 6 KU Singh of Georgia in the quarterfinals, both in straight sets, to jump from No. 19 in the rankings the previous week to top-five nationally.
Rossi had a great fall his junior year, capped off by taking the singles crown in the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships, hosted by the University of Kentucky. In the championship match, Rossi defeated No. 10 Sadio Doumbia of Georgia in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to claim the championship in the final round. Rossi became Kentucky's first winner of the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships in over 20 years with his win. He was also the first finalist representing Kentucky since Jesse Witten in 2002, some 10 years earlier.
Rossi was also instrumental in the spring of 2012 as he played the No. 3 position and went 21-3 at that position, including a 7-3 record in SEC play as the Wildcats captured their first SEC Championship in 20 years. Rossi, in his final two years in the Blue and White, combined for a 46-10 record in dual match competition.
"When I look back, I have a couple regrets," Rossi said. "I really wanted to take this team to a Final Four and win a SEC Tournament. But, I am also glad to be part of the UK history by winning the SEC Indoors, making three Sweet 16s, one Elite Eight and winning the SEC Championship."
"I have to thank my parents who supported me my entire life," Rossi said. "They have been here for me since the first day. I know how tough it was for them to see me leaving and spending four years of my life far away from them. They have been phenomenal. I found a second family here far away from my folks back home. Everybody has been great to me and I am thankful for that. I wish Coach Kauffmann, Coach Emery and the UK men's tennis team the best in the future. I believe they can become one of the best programs in college tennis."
2013 Final Rankings:
Anthony Rossi- 6th (All-American)
Tom Tomby - 20th (All-American)
Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai - 10th (All-American)
Team - 9th
For more information, log onto UKathletics.com.