EVENT: NCAA Singles Championship WHEN: First round begins Wednesday WHERE: Dan Magill Tennis Complex, Athens, Ga. LIVE SCORING
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, MAY 20, 2014 – Roberto Cid will continue his dazzling debut season as a Bull with a great opportunity at the NCAA Singles Championship.
The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year will face top-seeded Clay Thompson of No. 5 UCLA 1 p.m. Wednesday in the first round at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“I’m very fortunate and blessed with everything I’ve done so far and I think I still can do well in the NCAAs,” Cid said.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore, originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is 21-5 in singles play after choosing USF over other top programs including No. 7 North Carolina, No. 9 Texas, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 32 Wake Forest, No. 33 FSU and No. 55 Miami among many others.
“He’s an incredible athlete, he’s a really hard worker and he’s very, very coachable, which makes our job easy,” head coach Matt Hill said.
In addition to top American honors, Cid recently was named ITA Rookie Player of the Year for the Southeast Region that includes all Division I programs from Florida and Georgia.
“Consistency was a big factor in my results,” Cid said. “I was able to have a very consistent season from the beginning until the end and I think that’s one of the reasons I made it to the NCAAs.”
Cid competed in two matches for No. 24 USF at the NCAA tournament earlier in May and the experience will be valuable heading into a battle with a very tough opponent. Thompson has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the season and he’s 37-7 after falling in the NCAA semifinals against No. 2 Oklahoma.
No. 47 Cid is 2-2 against players in the NCAA Singles Championship field and Hill said he’ll be ready for the opportunity to face the nation’s best.
“That’s what we live for,” Hill said. “That’s why we do all this work is for them to play at the highest level college tennis has to offer and see what we can do against the best teams and the best players in the country.”
Cid headed to Athens early to watch the team semifinals and championship matches and Hill said the experience will benefit the Bulls as a whole in the future.
“It’s invaluable for a leader of ours to see with his own eyes exactly what we’re trying to describe verbally to them all year with the level it takes to really have a shot at winning a national championship,” Hill said. “I’m excited he gets to compete in the tournament and I’m equally excited about what he’s going to see and experience there.”