Men's Tennis Continuing Momentum From Record-Setting Spring
July 10, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Following a spring dual season that saw a number of program firsts, including the team's first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament field, it is no surprise that the returning members of the University of Memphis men's tennis team are continuing to blaze new trails over the summer months.
Traditionally, collegiate tennis players at Memphis would compete on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) summer circuit before beginning classes in the fall. But with an international contingent of Tigers who have not seen home since last summer, the Tigers' coaching staff opted to let the international players return home for the summer. That decision has paid dividends for four players already, as Tigers' tandems have made some impressive marks in doubles play over the summer.
"Our guys have done an amazing job in doubles this summer," Associate Head Coach Mark Finnegan said. "We always pride ourselves on doubles here at Memphis, so it is nice to see our guys beat some of the best doubles teams in the world."
Current Tiger Cedric de Zutter (Eeklo, Belgium/College OLV ten Doorn) teamed with former Tiger Alex Bucewicz (2001-2005) to compete in the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) Futures Circuit event in The Netherlands. They opened The Netherlands F4 event with a win over the German team of Martin and Stefan Florea, then upended the No. 2 seed in the tournament by defeating Taro Daniel of Japan and Morgan Phillips of Great Britain, 7-6 (2), 6-2. The duo then took down another seeded opponent, defeating the No. 4 seeds Tiago Fernandes and Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the doubles finals, the first time a current Tiger player (De Zutter) has ever appeared in a doubles final in a Futures Event.
While De Zutter's appearance in a Futures final is a first for a current Tiger, former Tigers have had some doubles success on the ITF circuit. Most recently, Amrit Narasimhan (2006-07) appeared in doubles finals in Mexico (2011), Guatemala (2012) and Rwanda (2011). Current Tigers' volunteer assistant coach Ben Stapp (2000-04) teamed with Joe Schmulian (2000-2002) on the ITF Circuit for a doubles win in Mexico in 2005 and with former teammate Richard Magney (1999-2002) in 2005 for a run deep in a doubles draw in Israel. Stapp also appeared in a doubles final in New Zealand.
Across the English Channel, another doubles team of current Tigers also made some waves. Joe Salisbury (London, England/Surrey State) and David O'Leary (Coventry, England/Loughborough College) made the most of a wild card entry in the Great Britain F9 Futures event. Rising sophomores at Memphis, the tandem went right at the tournament's No. 1 seeded doubles team, eliminating the team of Albano Olivetti (France)/Sean Thornley (Great Britain), 6-2, 6-4, giving the Tiger duo a win over the No. 175 ranked doubles team in the ATP. But having upset the favorites, the duo had also drawn the attention of their opponents, and were eliminated, 6-2, 6-2 by eventual tournament champions Josh Gooddall and Marcus Willis of Great Britain.
Both O'Leary and Salisbury are back at it this week, participating in the Great Britain F10 event in Ilkley. Salisbury won his first qualifying singles match, 6-4, 6-3, over Ben Lott, while O'Leary received a first round bye and will face David Porter in the second round.
Back across the Irish Sea, fellow Tiger David O'Hare (Dublin, Ireland/Colaiste Eoin) also picked up a doubles championship, teaming with Stanford's John Morrisey to win the Irish Closed National doubles crown two weeks ago.