May 10, 2007

Gauchos Sign Top French Tennis Star to National Letter of Intent

May 10, 2007

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Maher Zeidan, a semifinalist at both the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship and Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championship, and one of the top-8 junior players in France, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at UC Santa Barbara, head coach Marty Davis announced Thursday.

Zeidan made his semifinal appearances in the Orange Bowl Championship in Key Biscayne, Fla., and the Eddie Herr Championship in Bradenton, Fla., in 2004. He has had an ITF ranking as high as 203 and has played in tournaments in Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Ghana and Croatia, in addition to the United States.

On the national level in France, Zeidan was ranked among the top-8 players in under 16s and he advanced to the quarterfinals in the French national championship in the under 14 and under 16 singles. As a doubles player, he reached the national semifinals in under 16s. Regionally, Zeidan is a three-time provincial champion in the south of France.

"Maher will be a great addition to our program," Davis said. "Not only is he a very good player, but he also has an energetic personality and will fit it very well with our guys.

While he was born in Dakar, Senegal, Zeidan's hails from Marseille, France. From the ages of 14 through 17, he attended the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris, the same academy where Marcos Baghdatis trained. He was a member of the academy's elite team.

Zeidan, who is expected to play a significant role for the Gauchos as a freshman, will join a UCSB team that won its second straight Big West Tournament title two weeks ago and will play at USC in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The 2007 Santa Barbara roster includes only one senior, Elad Stern, and he has been sidelined virtually all season with a shoulder injury.

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