DURHAM, N.C. – Duke’s Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler, the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Doubles Team of the Year, will receive another national accolade this week. The tandem has been named to the 2013 ITA Collegiate All-Star Team and will be honored at the ITA Awards Luncheon Saturday, Aug. 24 at the United States Tennis Association Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Cunha and Hemmeler posted 39 doubles victories during the 2013 campaign, ranking them second all-time in program history for the most wins by a Duke duo. They also completed the season as the top-ranked pair nationally and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship in their first year playing together.
During the dual season, Cunha and Hemmeler recorded a 24-4 mark from the No. 1 doubles position in the Blue Devils’ lineup and an undefeated 9-0 ledger in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Against ranked opponents, the tandem went 24-3, with 11 of those victories coming against opponents ranked in the top 20.
The fall season saw the Duke duo play to a 12-1 record and capture three doubles titles, including the blue draw at the Duke Fab Four Invite, the ITA Carolina Regional and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championship. The title at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championship was just the second in Duke men’s tennis history.
Featuring 20 of the nation's top student-athletes from tennis programs across the nation, the ITA All-Star Team was inaugurated in 1984. The All-Star Team features the nation's top-ranked men's and women's players from the year-end ITA College Tennis Rankings at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO levels, as well as winners of the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and 2013 NCAA Division I Championships.
In addition to being named to the ITA Collegiate All-Star Team, Cunha was also recently announced as the NCAA Division I men’s recipient of the 2013 ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. The ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards are given annually to collegiate students who have shown great achievements on and off the court. A select group of accomplished student-athletes have been honored in this way since 1982. Ashe himself inaugurated the award and personally made the presentations until his tragic passing in 1993. For the past 20 years, former NYC mayor David Dinkins has given out these prestigious awards.
The award takes into account a player's tennis accomplishments, scholastic achievements and extracurricular endeavors, and recognizes players who excelled on and off the court as Ashe did during his life. Sportsmanship, leadership and character are important criteria, as is giving back to the community.
A four-time collegiate All-American, Cunha completed his Duke career as the record holder in singles (151) and doubles (147) victories. He is just the fourth player in program history to win 100 matches in singles and doubles. The 2010 and 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, Cunha became the first Blue Devil to win the award two times during his career.
He was also active in the Durham community during his time at Duke, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Durham, as well as at the Duke Tennis Royal Blue Pro-Am. An ambassador for the sport of tennis, he has a post-graduation ambition to introduce high school tennis in his home country of Brazil, which currently does not have team tennis programs at the high school level.
Cunha will also be recognized as a recipient of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Award at the ITA Awards Luncheon this Saturday in New York.