ATLANTA – The rivalry between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech will be put on hold for two doubles players, as they will join together to compete in the 2012 BB&T Atlanta Open, Tournament Director Bob Bryant announced.
The BB&T Atlanta Open will be held at Atlantic Station, July 14-22, and is the first men’s event in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
In a repeat of the unique Yellow Jacket – Bulldog pairing which debuted last year, a main-draw doubles wild card will go to metro Atlanta residents Kevin King of Georgia Tech and Ignacio Taboada of the University of Georgia. The tournament will also extend singles qualifying wild cards to King and Nathan Pasha of Georgia.
Last year the enthusiastic local crowd encouraged King and Georgia’s Drake Bernstein to a first-round upset of No. 1 seeds and defending champions Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram. The college duo fell in the second round to the eventual finalists Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser.
Peachtree City’s King, who was a senior this year, was named an All-American in doubles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and earned All-Atlantic Coast Conferences honors for the second consecutive year. King and Georgia Tech teammate Juan Spir finished 2012 with a No. 4 national doubles ranking. In singles, King was ranked as high as No. 7 and was recently named to the Capital One Academic All-America Men's At-Large team.
King will team up for doubles with Taboada, who finished ranked No. 48 in singles in the ITA this year. Atlanta native Taboada,, who was also a senior this past year, tied for the most wins on Georgia’s squad with a 35-11 record. He clinched the SEC Tournament final with a victory against Kentucky and was named tournament MVP, along with being named to the second All-SEC team.
"For the second year, we are excited to add a local college connection to the BBT Atlanta Open," said Bryant. "All three of our college players are from metro Atlanta and are highly talented tennis players. It is not often you can bring Tech and UGA fans together, but last year’s pairing showed the Atlanta tennis community proudly supports this unique doubles pairing."
Rising sophomore Pasha, of Atlanta, finished with a 34-8 record in singles and 23-2 in dual matches. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week four times, along with being selected ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year. Pasha was also named a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team and the ITA National Indoors All-Tournament Team.
"We’ve got two great competitors playing in the BB&T Atlanta Open," said UGA men’s coach Manuel Diaz. "Nathan Pasha has been a standout player for us as a freshman who has won numerous honors. Ignacio Taboada will be a stalwart on doubles based on a great career at Georgia."
"Kevin has earned the honor to represent Georgia Tech in both singles and doubles. His doubles victory last year over the top seeds was a highlight for the Yellow Jackets," Georgia Tech coach Kenny Thorne said. "We’re pleased to be a part of the BB&T Atlanta Open as it brings together Georgia-based players for a chance to test themselves against world-ranked pros."