CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois men's tennis head coach Brad Dancer announced the signings of two more players for the upcoming 2014-15 season, bringing in Pablo Landa and Aleks Vukic to the Illini family. Thus, the incoming freshmen class now consists of four individuals, as they'll join Aron Hiltzik and Toshiki Matsuya.
"There is a tremendous amount of excitement for our team this year," stated Dancer. "Expectations are high and adding four freshman that all intend to contribute will make practices more competitive.
Aleks, Aron, Pablo, and Toshiki are not only great tennis players, but great students and will be valuable ambassadors for our program in the years to come."
Pablo Landa Monterrey, Mexico // Preparatoria Abierta
Notes: 21 and under Mexican National Champion ... Has beaten players in the top-50 ITF rankings ... Ranked 1400 ATP in doubles ... Played main draw in Grade A, 1, 2 ITFs.
Coach Dancer Says: "Pablo comes from the Austin Tennis Academy program. The coaches there have demonstrated a strong history of preparing young men for the rigors of the collegiate system. When we evaluated Pablo, we saw a young man who is a leader amongst his peers and had physical skills that can be developed at the next level."
Why Landa chose Illinois: "I chose the University of Illinois because besides having very strong tennis and academic programs, as soon as I met the team and the coaches, I felt I wanted to become an Illini."
Aleks Vukic Sydney, Australia // Normanhurst Boy High
Notes: Currently ranked 1535 in the ATP ... Recently earned an ATP point against an opponent ranked 527 in the world ... Has been training the last six months in Barcelona ... Won the Pizzey Cup in 2013 (Australian schools' championship for tennis) ... Ranked sixth in his age group in Australia.
Coach Dancer Says: "We saw Aleks at the futures this past January. Jared played a strong match and was able to defeat him but I was impressed with Alek's physical strength. As we corresponded throughout the year we began to understand the strength of Alek's academics. He is the rare prospect that combines the professional dreams associated with our program along with similar academic goals."
Why Vukic chose Illinois: "There was not one exact reason why I chose Illinois but rather the complete package it offers. I feel like both Brad and Marcos are a great fit for me and that they can aid me in reaching my goal of becoming a top professional tennis player. The teammates were great during my visit and I'm looking forward to getting to know them more and celebrating winning the NCAA's with the whole team."