INDIANAPOLIS - - In arguably the greatest milestone in the history of the Belmont tennis program, the doubles' pair of junior Hendrik Inno (Someru, Estonia) and sophomore Marko Ilic (Zagreb, Croatia) earned entry in the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships Tuesday.
The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 20-25 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, after the conclusion of the team championship, which runs from May 16-19. The University of Central Florida and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission will serve as hosts.
"This is an unbelievable achievement from Hendrik and Marko," Belmont Director of Tennis Mauricio Antun said. "What these two did this year as a doubles team will be in the Belmont history books forever. They deserve all the credit. Both work hard every day on the court and in the classroom, and we cannot wait to support them an NCAAs."
Only 32 doubles teams across the nation earn entry.
Automatic qualification into the Division I doubles championship is awarded to any conference with one or more eligible doubles teams ranked in the ITA Top 60 for eligible/entered doubles teams.
Inno and Ilic, currently ranked No. 35 in the ITA National Doubles Rankings, will represent the Ohio Valley Conference as one of 13 automatic qualifiers; 19 at-large selections rounded out the field.
The Belmont pair burst onto the scene this past fall, defeating the No. 8 ranked duo from Vanderbilt and No. 6 ranked team from Tennessee in succession to win the ITA Ohio Valley Regional and qualify for ITA Fall Nationals.
Inno, a two-time OVC Player of the Year and OVC Freshman of the Year honoree, and Ilic, a two-time All-OVC First Team selection, preserved their national ranking throughout the spring.
This marks the first time in program history that individuals will participate in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships; Belmont previously qualified as a team (2006).