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May 9, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Redshirt sophomore Gabriel Friedrich of the South Carolina men’s tennis team continues to receive accolades for his outstanding sophomore campaign as the Brazilian was tabbed as the ITA Carolina Region Player to Watch on Monday. It marks the second award for Friedrich this year as he was named Second Team All-SEC last month.

“I am very happy for Gabriel to receive this award, especially after the adversity he faced early on in the season,” head coach Josh Goffi said. “It’s really great to see that the coaches in the region have the same thoughts on his future as we all do around here.”

Friedrich is currently ranked 51st in the nation behind his 20-17 overall record. After an injury sandwiched between the fall and spring seasons, the Brazilian worked his way back into form to post an impressive 5-7 SEC mark at the top of the Gamecocks’ lineup in his first season of dual-match competition. Friedrich hit his stride during a month-long stretch in March and April when he won six of his nine decisions, including three against ranked foes. His team-high five wins over ranked opponents include one over the 18th-ranked player in the nation, the team’s highest-ranked singles win of the season. Friedrich’s spring performance came on the heels of an impressive fall campaign in which he went 10-5 in tournament play and captured the singles title at the USTA Clay Court Invitational at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.

In doubles, Friedrich has posted a team-leading three SEC wins while going 9-11 overall this spring. After being paired with teammate Harrison O’Keefe in April, the duo went 5-3 at the top of the lineup with wins over the No. 24 and No. 19 tandems in the nation, leading a resurgence in doubles play for Carolina and launching the tandem up the doubles rankings to No. 35.

Friedrich will compete in the NCAA Singles Championships in Tulsa, Okla., later this month.

ITA Carolina Region Awards
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Sam Paul, University of North Carolina
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Tripp Phillips, University of North Carolina
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Santtu Leskinen, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Simon Norenius, North Carolina State University
ITA Rookie of the Year: Petros Chrysochos, Wake Forest University
ITA Player to Watch: Gabriel Friedrich, University of South Carolina
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Brett Clark, University of North Carolina