Four Illini earn All-Big Ten awards


Cameron Krasucki

Redshirt sophomore Siphosothando Montsi celebrates during the match against Minnesota April 4 at Atkins Tennis Center. Montsi, along with seniors Aleks Kovacevic and Zeke Clark, were named to the All-Big Ten First Team Tuesday afternoon.

By Enji Erdenekhuyag, Staff Writer

The Illinois men’s tennis team took home several regular-season awards with Aleks Kovacevic, Siphosothando Montsi, Zeke Clark and Vuk Budic all honored after the Big Ten announced its All-Conference teams and individual distinctions Tuesday afternoon.

Kovacevic joined four other athletes in being named to the All-Big Ten First Team by unanimous vote. Throughout his career, Kovacevic has been a staple member of the First Team, and this is his third time being honored. He finished this regular season undefeated in singles play at 8-0 and went 5-4 in doubles.

In another unanimous decision, Montsi was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team for the first time. Last year, he was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team, but his unparalleled development as one of Illinois’ top players apparently called for a higher distinction. He sports a 14-1 singles record and a 11-5 doubles record in the regular season. 

Clark also earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team. This honor is his second, with the first one coming in 2019. Clark cemented this season as his best and final one as an Illini. He not only held an undefeated 14-0 regular season singles record, but he clinched his 100th career singles victory. In doubles play, Clark was just as dominant with a 12-0 record. 

Though Budic didn’t play as much this season, the conference recognized his off-court contributions to the team in naming him as a Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree for the second time in his career. This season, Budic stepped into a hands-on role of coaching his teammates throughout their matches. 


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