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Martin Sayer
Head Women's Tennis Coach









 

The all-time winningest men’s tennis player in Radford history returned to his alma mater in August 2013.

In his first season back with the Highlanders, Martin Sayer guided his team to a 10-13 record. In Big South play, Radford finished 4-5, which tied for the most conference wins in program history. The Highlanders advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship.

Prior to returning to RU, Sayer was an assistant coach of the Virginia Tech’s women’s tennis team. Sayer was instrumental in guiding the Hokies to a 13-2 start in 2013. Just as he did as a player at Radford, Sayer helped the program climb to as high as 55th in the ITA national rankings following a seven-match win streak. In addition, Tech knocked off nationally-ranked foes Minnesota, Boston College and Duke. The victory over the Blue Devils propelled the Hokies into the quarterfinals of the ACC Championship.
 
Prior to Tech, Sayer was an assistant coach for the Radford men’s tennis program while working toward his MBA, which he earned in 2011. During his two seasons in the position, Radford claimed the 2010 Big South regular season title and the 2011 Big South Tournament title. Furthermore, Sayer assisted in the development of Ivan Salec, who earned bids to the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Singles Championships.
 
Over the course of his career, Sayer became one of Radford’s and the Big South Conference’s most prominent tennis players and individual athletes in school and conference history. Sayer achieved several accolades never accomplished before by any tennis player at RU.
 
A four-time Big South Player of the Year and the Mideast Region Rookie of the Year, Sayer compiled a 114-25 overall record in his four seasons at the No. 1 singles position – including a 24-1 mark in league action. He was selected into the NCAA Singles Championship draw each of his four years, advancing to the round of 32 as a freshman and sophomore. In addition, he partnered with Zack Watson to earn the Highlanders’ only bid to the NCAA Doubles Championship.

Nationally ranked since he arrived at Radford in 2005 – a first for any RU tennis player, Sayer burst onto the tennis scene as a freshman. In the fall of 2005, he was the co-champion of the ITA Mideast Regional and reached the second round of the ITA National Indoor Championships. During his historic run through the regional, he defeated four nationally-ranked players, ranging from No. 2 to No. 82.
 
On day three, Sayer, the co-17th seed, started off the day by downing sixth-seeded and 33rd-ranked Todd Paul of Wake Forest, 7-6, 6-0 in the round of 16. Sayer then pulled off the biggest upset in RU tennis history, defeating No. 1 seed and second-ranked Ludovic Walter of Duke in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, earning a trip to the semifinals. Sayer went on to defeat fourth-seeded and 16th-ranked Rylan Rizza of Virginia in the semifinals, helping him claim the co-championship.

Sayer’s fall success propelled him to a No. 17 ranking to start the 2006 spring season, the highest ranking of his collegiate career. That spring he also became the first tennis player to reach the NCAA Singles Championships. Sayer went on to win his first-round match against No. 113 Marcus Echtler of Stetson. He would fall in the second round to the eventual NCAA runner-up Somdev Devvarman of Virginia.

Sayer finished his freshman season ranked No. 31 in the country and eighth in the Mideast Region. He posted an 8-5 record against nationally-ranked players en route to his first Big South Player of the Year honor and First-Team All-Big South honors in singles and doubles. Sayer also helped Radford reach its first Big South championship match.

As a sophomore, Sayer continued his ascension in collegiate tennis. He was the only Big South player to be ranked nationally (No. 48) and was ranked sixth in the Mideast Region. He compiled a 32-10 overall record, including 20-2 in the spring and 7-0 in Big South action. Sayer led the Big South in victories and was one of two undefeated players in league matches. 19 of his 20 spring victories were in straight sets, dropping just five sets during the dual season. Sayer claimed his second Big South Player of the Year award, and led the Highlanders to their first Big South Conference championship and team berth in the NCAA Tournament. For the second straight year, Sayer was an at-large selection to the NCAA Singles Championship and for the second consecutive year reached the round of 32.

Sayer’s junior season in 2007-08 was much of the same. He collected his third Big South Player of the Year honor, as well as First-Team All-Big South accolades in singles and doubles. Sayer was nationally-ranked all season, reaching as high as No. 26, and finished the season with a 25-4 overall record and 14-1 record in spring matches, including 6-0 in Big South competition.
 
He won the top flight at the UNC Fall Invitational, reached the final of the Virginia Fall Invitational and the semifinals of the ITA Mideast Regional. He again led the Highlanders to the Big South Conference championship and NCAA Tournament, and later participated in the NCAA Singles Championship as an at-large competitor for the third year in a row.

Sayer was a key contributor to Radford finishing with a national ranking of 69 and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Highlanders entered the rankings for the first time in school history on March 4, 2008 at No. 59 and stayed ranked throughout the 2008 campaign. They peaked at No. 55 on April 1.
 
That ranking was topped in Sayer’s senior campaign when Radford climbed to a program-best 47th on March 3, 2009. In the fall of 2008, Sayer was the only current student-athlete named to the Big South’s “Best of the Best” as part of the league’s 25th anniversary celebration.
 
At the end of his final regular season, Sayer joined former Highlander standout James Lloyd (2005-08) as the only players in school history to earn four all-conference singles honors. He also became Radford’s first three-time selection to the Big South’s all-conference doubles team. Sayer capped his career by guiding the Highlanders to their third straight league title and NCAA Tournament appearance, and advancing to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
 
In addition to his athletic achievements, Sayer was equally impressive in the classroom. He was a four-time Radford University Presidential Honor Roll selection. In 2009, Sayer was Radford’s male nominee for the prestigious Christenberry Award presented by the Big South annually to the top male and female senior student-athletes within the conference.


Sayer and his wife, Ashley, reside in Christiansburg, Va.



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