With the 2020 spring season ending prematurely due to the spread of COVID-19, figuring out the future of the North Carolina men’s tennis team is complicated.
North Carolina finished the shortened season with a 12-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking, looking primed to compete for the program's first outdoor national championship. ACC play had just begun and the Tar Heels came out of the gates hot with wins over Virginia Tech and N.C. State. UNC looked to be taking the momentum of a runner-up finish in the ITA Indoor Championship into the spring season.
Despite the abrupt ending of the 2020 campaign, four players on the team were given All-America honors, more than any other men's team. Two of them were seniors William Blumberg and Simon Soendergaard, while the others were sophomore Brian Cernoch and junior Mac Kiger. Blumberg was the only Tar Heel to earn the honor for singles, while all four players were named as All-Americas on their respective doubles teams.
Typically, one would look into the next season and evaluate how UNC can adjust with the loss of key seniors. This year, it won’t be that simple.
The outlook of the team will depend largely on what UNC’s Department of Athletics decides to do with the question of eligibility for spring athletes. Athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in March that he wanted an extra year of eligibility to be provided for spring athletes. If players do come back, the Tar Heels will have a stacked roster returning and their season could look similar to the beginning of the 2020 campaign. If this is the case, the Tar Heels could be at the forefront of title contention once again.