(Editor’s note: University of Montana athletics release)
Alex Canellopoulos is the lone senior on Montana’s men’s tennis team, and he played like a seasoned veteran last week against UNLV and Boise State.
He did more than that though. He performed like one of the most dominant players in the mountain region.
Canellopoulos went undefeated in singles and doubles over the course of the Grizzlies’ two-match spring break trip to Las Vegas, picking up a pair of straight-set wins over two Mountain West opponents on the Rebel’s home court.
Now riding a four-match win streak, Canellopoulos was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Wednesday.
“I’m incredibly proud of Alex and happy he got a little of the recognition he deserves. Playing number one is never easy. He hung tough through some very close and difficult early season losses, trusted the process, and knew that he was doing the right things on the court to win. It’s nice he got to prove it against tough Mountain West Conference opponents this week,” said head coach Jason Brown.
“It was exactly what our young team needed from its captain and lone senior heading into the final month of our season.”
In two singles matches, the native of Athens, Greece, allowed his court one opponents to win just six games, defeating UNLV’s Olle Thestrup 6-2, 6-0, and BSU’s Jack Heslin 6-3, 6-1.
With his partner Ludvig Hallgren, Canellopoulos also picked up a pair of doubles wins, muscling their way to a 7-5 win over UNLV’s Sauer/Thestrup pain on court one, then blowing past Boise State’s DeMullling/Lalovic pair 6-1 the following day.
It was the second-straight week Canellopoulos went undefeated in singles, defeating Lewis-Clark State’s Alex D’Aboville and picking up a massive win over Idaho’s All-Big Sky Carlos Neto in straight sets on the road the week previous.
The pair of wins in Idaho snapped an eight-match losing streak for the senior, falling on the wrong end of three different three-set decisions.
This is the first Big Sky Player of the Week honor for Canellopoulos, surprising for one of the most decorated players in program history.
As a sophomore in 2017, Canellopoulos earned second-team All-Big Sky honors after going 9-2 in league play, mainly featured on courts four and five. Along with Yannick Schmidl, he also earned second-team all-conference doubles honors that season with a 7-1 record.
As a junior, he and Schmidl also became the first players in Montana history to earn a national ranking from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as the No. 77 pair in the country in 2018.
Canellopoulos also excels in the classroom as a three-time Academic All-Big Sky and a member of Montana’s first ITA All-Academic team in 2018.
This is the second-straight Player of the Week honor for the University of Montana, with Julia Ronney of the Grizzly women’s team earning the weekly award last week.
Canellopoulos and the Grizzly men return home after nearly a month on the road for a pair of key conference matches against Sacramento State and Idaho State that could determine whether or not UM advances to the Big Sky tournament as a top-six seed.
2019 Big Sky Men’s Tennis Player of the Week
Apr. 3 – Alex Canellopoulos, Montana
Mar. 27 – Salvador Mijares, Southern Utah
Mar. 20 – Tim Handel, Northern Arizona
Mar. 13 – Tom Fisher, Northern Arizona
Mar. 6 – Matteo Fortini, Portland State
Feb. 27 – David Felix, Idaho State
Feb. 20 – Lucas Castelo Branco, Portland State
Feb. 13 – Kris van Wyk, Weber State
Feb. 6 – Mikus Losbergs, Sacramento State
Jan. 30 – Tim Handel, Northern Arizona
Jan. 23 – Agustin Tamagnone, Southern Utah
Jan. 16 – Fynn Lohse, Idaho State