As the Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open gears up this week, let’s catch up with last year’s semifinalists.
Zachary Svajda (Pronounced SVY-duh)
Zachary Svajda, pictured above, was on a hot streak before winning last year’s tournament, defeating Eduardo Nava, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. He played two rounds in the main draw at the 2021 U.S. Open, ultimately defeated by Jannik Sinner in the second round. The week after, Svajda made his way into the quarterfinals at the Cary Challenger 80 in Cary, N.C.
The 19-year-old has taken a non-traditional path to professional tennis. He rarely played in junior tournaments in high school, opting instead to practice with his dad, brother and Dallas-based coach, Matt Hanlin. Svajda has no experience playing NCAA tennis.
Since last year’s tournament, the Californian from La Jolla played two rounds in the qualifying draw for the 2022 U.S. Open. In October, he won the Tiburon, California, Challenger 80; in August, he had reached the quarterfinals at the Chicago Challenger 80. Svajda reached his career-high ATP ranking No. 255 on Oct. 10. He’s currently ranked at No. 257.
After qualifying for the main draw, Eduardo Nava had a great run, losing to Svajda in the three-set final. Since then, Nava has played in nine professional tournaments, notably making it to the quarterfinals at the M25 Champaign, Ill.
Nava played the 2021-22 NCAA season while completing his fifth year at Wake Forest. He finished with a 19-10 singles record. Originally from Northridge, Calif., Nava’s current ATP ranking is No. 847. He hit his career-high of No. 792 on Aug. 15.
Eliot Spizzirri (Pronounced spih-ZEER-ee)
Playing on his home court, University of Texas at Austin player Eliot Spizzirri lost to Svajda, 6-2, 6-4, in the semifinals. At age 17, Spizzirri won the 2019 U.S. Open boys’ doubles title with fellow American Tyler Zink.
Spizzirri got his ATP ranking up to No. 620 this past July. He is currently at No. 1137 but hasn’t played an ITF event since Austin. Fighting off injuries later that year, Spizzirri had a record of 11-6 in singles and 15-1 in doubles that spring as UT reached the NCAA’s Round of 16. Last week, Spizzirri was runner-up at the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego. Originally from Greenwich, Conn., Spizzirri studies business at UT-Austin.
Colin Markes (Pronounced MARK-iss)
Colin Markes, the former Longhorn champion, was a semifinalist at last year’s tournament, eliminated by Nava, 6-1, 7-6. Markes has played in 31 professional tournaments since Austin last year, notably making it to the semifinals at the M15 tournament in Heraklion, Greece, in May. In September, he competed in the finals at the M15 tournament in Monastir, Tunisia, but lost to Tunisian Aziz Dougaz.
Markes’s current ATP ranking is No. 627, his career high. Born and raised in Austin, Markes graduated from the University of Texas in 2019, when he led the Longhorns to the NCAA title.
By Aaron Sullivan