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JTCC Alumna Ayana Akli Achieves #3 Ranking in College Tennis

Feb 28, 2024

Ayana Akli No 3 ITA Ranking University of South Carolina Gamecocks

For JTCC alumna Ayana Akli, the decision to return to the University of South Carolina for her final season of college tennis has the Silver Spring native soaring to new heights.

Granted a fifth year of college eligibility after her freshman season was curtailed due to COVID-19, Akli proved that her decision to return was the right decision as she attained a career-high #3 in the ITA Division I singles rankings released on February 7.

“The ranking is truly just a number. I don’t feel much pressure added to it,” Akli said. “I’m grateful that I get to compete against the top players from every other school we play.”

The 2023 ITA All-American in singles and doubles compiled an impressive 34-10 overall record last season and leads the Gamecocks playing in the No. 1 singles position this season with an overall record to date of 18-6.

Akli attributes much of her success and climb up the college rankings from #71 as a freshman to #3 in the nation as a senior to her nearly two decades of training at JTCC in the after-school program with her father, Senior Director of Player Development Oliver Akli.

“JTCC’s competitive environment and team-oriented approach prepared me well for college tennis because training for hours every day with long fitness sessions was the norm,” Ayana Akli said. “Improving alongside friends has been invaluable in my tennis development and [my ranking] shows the amount of work I have put in with my Dad and everything he’s taught me. I’m grateful he never put pressure on me to be perfect. He just wants me to enjoy every match.”

As Akli begins the grind of her final college season, she has her sights set on playing professionally one day, but not until after making the most of this final year.

“Individually, I want to have fun and go out with a bang for my last year, and team-wise, I want to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship with my teammates,” she declared.

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