Sarkissian To Represent Waves at ITA All-American Singles Championship

Alex Sarkissian

Oct. 1, 2013


MALIBU, Calif. - Senior All-American Alex Sarkissian gets the 2013 tournament season started for the Pepperdine men’s tennis team with the ITA All-American Championship. The annual national championship event, which began with qualifying rounds on Sept. 28, opens main draw action on Thursday, Oct. 3.

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ITA ALL-AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP - Alex Sarkissian earned a main draw bid into the ITA All-American singles draw, just one of 48 players from across the NCAA to do such. His first-round opponent will not be known until singles qualifying is complete on Wednesday. Live scoring for the championships can be found at

LOOKING BACK - Pepperdine reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Championship last spring and ended the year at #8 in the ITA rankings. The now-graduated Sebastian Fanselow stormed his way to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship, narrowly falling 7-6, 7-6 to the eventual ITA National Player of the Year, Jamare Jenkins of Virginia. Alex Sarkissian achieved All-American status as well after reaching the round of 16.



NOTES ON ALEX - Alex Sarkissian  went 23-6 in singles during his first year at Pepperdine, including 21-5 in dual match play ... Played No. 2 and No. 3 in the singles lineup ... Earned ITA All-American status after entering the NCAA Singles Championship ranked #62 and reaching the round of 16 ... All-WCC second team selection in singles and doubles.

LOOKING AHEAD - Next up, select members of the team will travel up to San Francisco to compete in the Battle in the Bay Classic on Oct. 10-13. After that, the Waves host the annual USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championship on Oct. 18-22 on the courts of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.

RETURNERS - Five student-athletes, three of which who were regulars in last year’s lineup, return in 2013-14. Headlining the list is returning ITA All-American Alex Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) and Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State). Sarkissian and Alcantara held down the No. 2 and No. 4 positions in the singles lineup. Also returning is David Sofaer (Bellevue Hill, Australia/Sydney Distance Education HS), a mainstay at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles.  Kento Tanaki-Tamaki (Kihei, Hawaii/St. Anthony Junior-Senior HS) and Damian Gryzelko (London, England/Saddlebrook Prep School) are also back after making a handful of appearances during the 2013 dual season. 

NEWCOMERS - Four freshman players were added to the roster this season, including a trio from California. The local products include Alex Giannini, (Los Angeles, Calif./Gorman Learning Center), Stefan Menichella, (Santa Barbara, Calif./University HS) and Alexander Solonin (Tarzana, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS), while Rakshay Thakkar (Pune, India/St. Vincent’s HS) comes to Malibu from India.

Adam Steinberg - Now in his 12th season as head coach of the Waves, Adam Steinberg boasts career record of 303-155 including a 173-76  mark at Pepperdine. Since setting foot on the Malibu campus in 2003, Steinberg has captured seven WCC conference championships, seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and an NCAA Championship crown in 2006. He has tutored 16 Waves to All-American status, and has been named WCC Coach of the Year seven times.  Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Steinberg served as the head coach at Alabama and St. John’s for five seasons apiece. 

ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports – one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat – and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.

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