Men's Tennis Caps Year in Top 25
May 27, 2014
MEMPHIS - -
The University of Memphis men's tennis team finished its 2014 season ranked number 21 in the country in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) polls released Tuesday. Memphis finished the year with 15-6 overall record, a third straight NCAA appearance and a second straight second round appearance in the NCAA team draw.
The Tigers have now appeared in the national rankings for 47 straight ranking periods, including a program-best ranking of No. 18 earlier this season (Jan. 29, Feb. 4). Memphis has been ranked in the top 25 in the country in 10 of 13 rankings during the 2013-14 season.
Memphis has also appeared in three straight conference tournament finals, but will see the American Athletic Conference undergo changes for the 2014-15 season. Louisville, who finished the year ranked No. 40, will leave the league and will be replaced on the men's tennis side by three teams who finished the year in the national rankings - No. 36 Tulsa, No. 65 Tulane and No. 73 East Carolina. The addition of those three schools will mean that six of The American's nine schools that sponsor men's tennis will be nationally-ranked, including two schools that finished this season in the top 25 (No. 21 Memphis, No. 23 USF).
The Tigers will also have a very different looking line-up for the 2014-15 season, with the graduation of a five-member senior class that helped Memphis make its first-ever NCAA team appearance back in 2011-12. Gone will be Cedric De Zutter, Johnny Grimal, David O'Hare, David O'Leary, and Joe Salisbury. Senior Ian Chadwell could also be gone, depending on a medical redshirt waiver pending with the NCAA dating back to a foot injury he suffered that caused him to miss two seasons of play at the University of Alabama.
Joining the Tigers will be a recruiting class that TennisRecruiting.Net announced Monday as the No. 28 ranked class in the country. That class includes Germany's Kai Lemke and an English trio of Shakeel Manji, Ryan Peniston and Andrew Watson. The TennisRecruiting.net ranking only includes incoming college freshmen, so missing from the Tigers' class ranking is junior college transfer Tim Srkala of the Czech Republic, who also joins Memphis this fall. Srkala finished his junior college career as the No. 5 ranked singles player in the country and part of the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the final junior college rankings. He helped his junior college, ASA College in New York, finish the year as the junior college national champions and with a team ranking of No. 1 in the final ITA poll.
That five-player class will have some big shoes to fill. The senior class of 2014 will leave with a number of career achievements:
Cedric De Zutter: De Zutter was an All-conference doubles honoree (2013) and graduated with a career doubles mark of 42-28, including a 24-15 mark in dual season play.
Johnny Grimal: Leaves as Memphis' career singles wins leader with an overall mark of 85-43, including a 49-27 mark in dual season play. Grimal also posted one of his most successful doubles seasons of his career in 2013-14 when teamed with Ian Chadwell. The duo went 19-1 this spring, pushing Grimal's career doubles record to 65-24, including a mark of 42-11 at No. 3 doubles.
David O'Hare: A three-time all-conference doubles honoree and an all-conference singles honoree, O'Hare became the first Tiger in school history to represent his country in Davis Cup play when he suited up for Ireland in their first round tie in Belarus back in January. He finishes his career with a 51-59 career singles mark and a 91-33 doubles mark. His 91 doubles wins ranks second in school history, second only to doubles teammate Joe Salisbury. That tandem set a school mark when they ranked as high as No. 3 in the country in their senior campaign. They became the first players in Memphis history to advance to the Round of 16 at the National Indoor Championships in New York after winning the Ohio Valley Regional doubles championship in the fall. They also became the first Tigers in almost 30 years to qualify for the NCAA doubles draw.
David O'Leary: Played three seasons for the Tigers, finishing with a career singles record of 60-23, including a 45-10 record in dual season play.
Joe Salisbury: A three-time all-conference doubles honoree and a two-time singles honoree, Salisbury leaves Memphis as the program's career leader in doubles victories (97) and ranks second only to teammate Johnny Grimal with 79 singles victories. He and teammate David O'Hare were ranked the entire 2013-14 season in doubles play, ranking as high as No. 3 in the country, the highest-ever ranking for a Memphis tandem, and represented Memphis at both the National Indoor Championships and the NCAA doubles tournament draw, becoming the first Tigers to ever advance to the National Indoor Championships and the first team in over 30 years to qualify for the NCAA draw. Salisbury was named the ITA Ohio Valley Region's Most Improved Senior earlier this month and was a conference all-academic team member in 2013.
Memphis will return one player from the national rankings to the 2014-15 roster. Rising senior Connor Glennon spent the entire season in the national singles rankings, including a season-best ranking of No. 46. He was listed as the No. 6 alternate for the NCAA singles draw in 2013-14 and will hit his senior campaign with a 57-26 career singles record, including a mark of 21-14 at No. 1. His 21 wins at No. 1 singles is the most for a Tiger since at least the 2000 season, surpassing Lee Taylor Walker's 17 win total from 2001-04 at the top singles spot. Glennon is also 46-26 in career doubles play, seeking to become just the 10th Memphis player since 2000 to amass 50 or more career doubles victories.
The Tigers are hoping Glennon will be joined by Chadwell in 2014-15. Since joining the Memphis roster in January of 2014, Chadwell posted a 12-10 mark in singles play, including a 1-1 record in singles and a 2-0 mark in doubles in Memphis' NCAA tournament run. If Chadwell receives a medical redshirt year back, that duo would be joined by rising sophomore Louis Asser. Asser also joined the Tigers' roster in January, and while waiting behind a senior-laden roster, played in a pair of non-conference dual matches, going undefeated in his first two college outings.