May 21, 2018 Article from GOBLUERAIDERS.COM

Issa, Blue Raiders Claim ITA Awards

photo of Gian IssaMURFREESBORO, Tenn - Middle Tennessee's men's tennis team was represented twice on this year's ITA Division I Regional Year-End Awards, and both awards highlighted MT's success on the court and off the court.

Individually, Gian Issa was named as the ITA Ohio Valley Region's Most Improved Senior following a 32-4 record since the fall season began back in August. Issa's 22-2 dual match record is also tops on the team, as 19 of those wins came at No. 5 along with a 3-0 record at No. 4. In the spring of 2017, Issa competed at No. 4, 5 and 6 for a combined record of 11-8. 

The Paramaribo, Suriname, native will go down as one of the most legendary men's tennis players to ever put on the MT blue and white. His single-season mark is the best since 1997 and is tied for third in program history, and his single-season winning percentage is .889, which is tied for third all-time with current professional John Peers. Issa has 87 career singles wins, which is good enough for sixth all-time, one shy of tied for fifth, and he also has a .674 winning percentage in his career, which makes him ninth all-time in program history. 

"This is a great award for Gian," MT head coach Jimmy Borendame said. "His game really stepped up this year, and his results have proven it. He helped lead this team on and off court."

The Blue Raiders were also honored with the Community Service Award in the ITA Ohio Valley Region for the second consecutive year. Community service in the 2017-18 season included cleaning up campus, reading in local elementary schools, participating with Buddy Up, partnering with Murfreesboro City Schools for tennis clinics, taking over P.E. programs to teach tennis in local schools, the introduction of the ball-kid program, and hit-and-giggle sessions with the Murfreesboro Tennis Association. 

Those community service events have led to an increase in home match attendance, an increase in the Annual Pro-Am fundraiser and annual giving, and have given children of all ages in the Murfreesboro area the opportunity to explore the game of tennis. 

"The team is honored to win this Community Service award two years in a row," Borendame added. "We love serving our community, and they continue to reciprocate, and it shows at our matches. Working with our community is one of the building blocks of our program, and we truly enjoy it."

Follow the Blue Raiders in the offseason on Twitter, @MT_MensTennis, and Facebook, MTSU Men's Tennis.