"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Men’s Tennis Coach Bresky claims milestone victory

300th win allows for reflection on his illustrious program
Isabella Parolini
Head Men’s Tennis Coach Tony Bresky looks on during the Demon Deacons’ match versus No. 9 Columbia.

After earning a 6-1, 6-2 victory on Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center’s Court 3, senior Luciano Tacchi clinched Wake Forest’s match against East Tennessee State, securing Head Coach Tony Bresky’s 300th-career win at Wake Forest in the process.

Although the victory represented a significant milestone, it hasn’t been his program’s most impressive achievement since he assumed the head coach position. He’s led the team to a national championship, three conference championships and more program wins than any other men’s tennis coach in Wake Forest history. 

The team Bresky inherited in 2011 was far from the consistently-ranked force the men’s tennis team has been under his leadership. Only three players on the team had significant collegiate tennis experience. The team ended with a 14-15 record and lost to North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. 

The team made a complete turn-around the next season, going 20-9 overall and 7-3 in conference play. The team finished No. 3 in the conference, No. 19 in the final ITA rankings and earned a bid to the NCAA championship. After helping the team undergo tremendous growth over just two years of leadership, Bresky won his first ACC Coach of the Year award in 2013.

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Although the Demon Deacons had success at the conference and national level for the next couple years, they turned into a major national force in 2016. The team went 31-6, reached No. 5 in the national rankings and defeated the University of Virginia to win the program’s first ACC tournament title. The graduating seniors that year, who represented Bresky’s first recruiting class at Wake Forest, amassed a record 90 wins and 37 losses. Bresky won his second ACC Coach of the Year award for his efforts.

Despite being the No. 6 overall seed at the NCAA tournament that year, the Demon Deacons fell to the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners in the third round. The team experienced a similarly disappointing result the following year, falling in the NCAA quarterfinals despite being the No. 1 seed at the championship.

In 2018, the men’s tennis team had their greatest season in program history. Wake Forest went 31-2 overall, finished the regular season No. 1 in the national rankings, won their second ACC Tournament title and won the program’s first NCAA tournament title. Also of note, two players represented the Demon Deacons in the NCAA Singles Championship finals: Petros Chrysochos and Borna Gojo. It was only the fourth time in tournament history two players from the same program had reached the finals.

Chrysochos defeated Gojo in the final, but the latter has gone on to have a more successful professional tennis career. He reached a career high No. 72 ATP tennis ranking last year on Nov. 20. Shortly before then, he reached the round of 16 of the U.S. Open, tallying three wins, including a landmark victory over No. 40 Mackenzie McDonald. He also represented Croatia at the Davis Cup, defeating No. 11 Frances Tiafoe — his best win to date.

Despite the team not reaching the same heights of its 2018 success, largely due to the departures of Chrysochos and Gojo, they’ve continued to be one of the best teams in the nation. In 2019, the Demon Deacons won 34 regular season matches, won its second-consecutive ACC championship and reached the finals of the NCAA championship. 

Following the shortened 2020 season, the Demon Deacons returned to the top of the rankings in the 2021 season. The team finished the season ranked No. 9 in the nation with an overall record of 29-7 and a 9-6 record against nationally ranked opponents. The team later fell, however, to No. 35 Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The most recent teams have similarly built on Bresky’s list of accomplishments. In the 2022 and 2023 seasons, the Demon Deacons went 33-7 and 26-12 overall and fell in the quarterfinals and the round of 16 at the NCAA tournament, respectively.

Bresky is looking to add to his already impressive résumé at Wake Forest in 2024. The No. 15 Demon Deacons started the season with wins over East Tennessee State and Elon, seeing the team improve to a 47-4 home over the last three seasons. Most recently, the Demon Deacons fell to No. 6 Tennessee. Still, graduate students Matthew Thomson and Tacchi earned victories in their singles matches against the Volunteers. 

With a roster stacked with top players, including No. 7 senior Filippo Moroni and No. 54 sophomore DK Suresh Ekambaram, Bresky is still leading a team that is not only capable of success at the conference and national levels but possesses talent that may appear on the tour in years to come.

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