Walker Wraps Up Busy Week at ITA Championships
Aug. 12, 2003
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Senior Lee Taylor Walker (Jackson, Tenn./University School of Jackson) wrapped up a busy week of competition at the ITA National Summer Championships with an appearance in the mixed doubles finals, a semifinal appearance in men's doubles and a quarterfinal appearance in men's singles.
In the singles portion of the draw, Walker, who was among the top eight seeds of the tournament, became the second upset victim to Miami-Florida's Eric Hetchman, 2-6, 7-5, 11-9, in the quarterfinals. Hetchman, who had upended the No. 1 seed of the tournament earlier in the week, lost to Indiana's Ryan Recht, 7-6, 7-5. Recht, who took advantage of playing on his home court, advanced to the finals, where he fell to No. 2 seed Chris Martin from the University of Illinois. Illinois finished the 2002-03 academic year the top-ranked team in college men's tennis.
But it was another Big Ten team that claimed the men's doubles championship. Walker and his doubles teammate, LSU's Bryan Fisher, were the only doubles quarterfinalists who were not also teammates during the regular season. Virginia's team of Maythaler/Rizza eliminated Walker and Fisher, 8-1, in the first semifinal, while a pair of Big Ten foes battled it out in the second semifinal, with Illinois' Martin/Zeder capturing the Illini's second title of the tournament with an 8-6 victory over the team of Maythaler and Rizza in the men's doubles finals.
But Walker had yet one more tournament draw to compete in, as he teamed with Indiana's Dora Vastag, a semifinalist in the women's singles draw, to earn the No. 1 seed in the mixed doubles draw. But the duo dropped an 8-1 decision to No. 2 seed Trey Johnson and Vastag's teammate Linda Tran in the mixed doubles finals.
The solid week of competition against players from the No. 1 men's tennis team in the country for Walker should be a promising sign for Tiger Head Coach Phil Chamberlain. Walker will be the Tigers' lone returning senior in 2003, guiding a team with just four returning players.
Walker won the men's doubles title at the ITA National Summer Championships last summer when he teamed with Tennessee's Wade Orr for the victory. Walker then went on to earn second team all-conference honors for Memphis during the spring season and was also named an ITA Academic Scholar. He was the league's player of the month during the month of October after breaking into the national rankings in singles and teaming with then-senior Ben Stapp to rank as high as No. 12 in the country after advancing to the finals of the Omni Region III Championships and winning doubles titles at Middle Tennessee, the Adult Southern Open in Memphis and the Milwaukee Tennis Classic in January.
The Tigers will host two prestigious collegiate tennis tournaments in 2003-04. Memphis will be the destination of some of the top men's singles and doubles players in the country when it hosts the ITA Southeast Regional, Oct. 16-19th at The Racquet Club of Memphis. Memphis will also host the Conference USA Men's Tennis Championship Apr. 8-12th. The winner of that tournament receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.