See You In September?

Two Auburn standouts have lined up busy summer schedules.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior Mark Kovacs and freshman Andy Colombo are separating for the summer, but hope to reunite in September for a return engagement on the biggest stage in American tennis.

There is a good chance that Auburn's first ever NCAA tennis doubles championship team will receive a wildcard entry into the main draw at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

Andy Colombo has the most powerful serve in Auburn tennis history.

Kovacs, who graduated from Auburn in May, is currently in eastern Europe, trying his luck on the satellite pro tour circuit. The left-hander says that he is excited about trying to make a living from the sport.

"I am not exactly sure of everywhere I will play yet. I will probably play in two or three places and then go to Germany and then I am pretty much open after that. I may come back to the United States and play a little bit more and see if our NCAA title opens any doors."

Colombo plans to spend much of his summer playing as an amateur on the pro circuit in Jamaica to test his game to see if he is ready to give professional tennis a shot. Auburn coach Eric Shore is hopeful that Colombo will bring his 130 miles per hour serve back to the Plains for his sophomore year, but both the coach and the player say that is a decision that will come later this summer.

Shore says that Kovacs played some incredible tennis during the Auburn duo's run through the NCAA Tournament. "He took his game to another level and it was exciting to watch," Shore says. "Andy played real well and Mark was sensational. The Stanford team our guys played in the championship was really strong, but even after our guys lost the second set I never got the feeling we were going to lose because we had the better team."

Mark Kovacs

Colombo was also impressed by his doubles partner. "Mark really went out with a huge bang," says the freshman, who played with poise beyond his years. "It doesn't get any better than winning a national championship your senior year."

Kovacs says, "It was the moment and the situation and I just didn't want to lose. I was thinking it is my last college match. We had friends who had driven all the way out from Auburn to Texas A&M to cheer for us and help us along. We had a lively crowd supporting us and we wanted to win for ourselves, for Auburn and for them."

Prior to the start of play, Colombo predicted that he and Kovacs had a legitimate shot at the title. "I thought that because we were playing really well together," Colombo says.

Andy Colomobo

Kovacs agrees and adds, "Yeah, we definitely believed we had a shot. We had played in the toughest conference throughout the season. We had lost one SEC match all year--actually, two. And, we knew that the competition in the other conferences was no better so we believed that we were as good as anyone else out there It was just whether we came to play on the day that the tournament was on, which we were able to do. It was great."


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