Walker and Men's Tennis Both to Start 2004 in National Rankings
Jan. 13, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Senior men's tennis player Lee Taylor Walker (Jackson, Tenn./University School of Jackson) and the University of Memphis men's tennis team will both start their 2004 seasons off among the nation's best according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll released, Tuesday.
Walker, who is the 13th ranked singles player in the ITA Southeast Region, is currently ranked 48th in the country after finishing the fall season with a 10-4 mark in singles. Walker downed the No. 9 ranked player in the country en route a singles semifinals appearance in the ITA Southeast Regionals in October before falling to Tulane's Dmitriy Koch, who is ranked 37th in this week's poll.
The No. 48 ranking is the highest-ever singles ranking for a Tiger under sixth-year Head Coach Phil Chamberlain. Walker was ranked 118th last year in his first appearance in the national rankings, and appeared as high as No. 12 in the country in doubles with then-partner Ben Stapp. Stapp completed his eligibility and is currently finishing his degree, while Walker is now teamed at No. 1 doubles with sophomore James Spence. The duo went 5-4 in the fall, falling to the Mississippi State duo of Romain Ambert and Florent Girod, who are currently ranked No. 32 in the country in doubles.
The Tiger team has also started its fourth season among the national rankings. Memphis, which finished fifth in the C-USA Championships last year in Milwaukee, debuted at No. 69, one of five C-USA teams to make an appearance in the rankings. Tulane and TCU will both start the year in the top 20, Tulane at No. 16 and TCU at No. 18, while South Florida debuts at No. 34. Louisville makes an appearance at No. 52.
Memphis will kick-off its 2004 season with an Alumni Match this weekend at The Racquet Club of Memphis. The Tigers will then hit the road for three matches in two days, starting at No. 54, Tennessee, Jan. 24th, at 10 a.m. Memphis will then face UT Martin, Marten Tamla's former school, in Knoxville at 3 p.m. that afternoon. The Tigers will then stop in Cookeville, Tenn., on the way back from the Knoxville matches to face Tennessee Tech, Jan. 25th, at 1 p.m. Memphis will open its home schedule, Feb. 6th against Illinois State, at 2 p.m.
Chamberlain is 14 wins shy of his 100th career win with an 86-49 record in his previous five seasons. He guided Memphis to its first-ever appearance in the national rankings in 2001. The Tigers spent all of 2002 and 2003 among the national rankings after not being in the national rankings since Chamberlain was the Tigers' No. 1 singles player in 1976.
Having already hosted one of the nation's premier events in October with the ITA Southeast Regional, the Tigers will host the C-USA Men's Championships Apr. 14-18th. The tournament will be held on the U of M HPER Courts if the upper courts can be repaired prior to the tournament, otherwise Rhodes College will serve as a possible outdoor venue for the Championships.
C-USA Teams Among National Rankings
National Singles Rankings of Interest