Tiger Tennis Hosts Three of Top 10 Collegiate Singles Players This Weekend
Oct. 15, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
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The University of Memphis men's tennis program and the Racquet Club of Memphis will co-host the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Men's Regional Championships, Oct. 16-19. The singles finalists and doubles champions from this event will earn spots in the November 6-9 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the University of Michigan.
The Southeast Regional features a competitive field with some of the top collegiate tennis players in the country. Georgia's Bo Hodge, the No. 2 singles player in the country, will come to Memphis as the tournament's top seed. Hodge will be joined by three other players who are among the top 10 singles players in the nation. Kentucky's Jesse Witten comes to Memphis as the No. 9 singles player in the country, while Ole Miss' Catalin Gard is the No. 10 ranked individual. In all, 14 of the country's top 100 singles players will compete at The Racquet Club this weekend.
Memphis is also sending seven individuals to the tournament. Junior Andrew Olswing (Memphis, Tenn./Ridgeway) and walk-on Trey Brower will start their tournament participation in the qualifying round, hoping to be one of the eight players who advance to the main draw by winning their ways in. Olswing will open his schedule against Tennessee Tech's Michele Panzeri at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, while Brower opens against UT Martin's Gustavo Anzola at 11 a.m. Both Brower and Olswing would need to win twice to get to the quarterfinal round of the final eight.
Five Tigers will start their days in the main draw. Senior Lee Taylor Walker, who is one of the No. 17 seeds for the tournament, will receive a first-round bye before faxing the winner of the Rodrigo Minozzo (Auburn) / Jamie Rodriguez (Georgia State) match at 2:15 p.m. at Club Six-50, Friday.
Freshman James Spence, the Tigers' No. 2 singles player so far this fall, will begin his tournament schedule at 8:15 Friday morning against Conference USA foe Ruben Zrihen from UAB. The winner of that match will face No. 9 seed Stephen Mitchell of Alabama at 11:30 a.m. at the Racquet Club.
Tigers' No. 3 Martin Tamla drew an in-state foe for his first-round match up. Tamla will square off against Tennessee's Wade Orr at 8:15 a.m., Friday, at Club Six-50 in the first round. The winner of that match advances to face No. 8 seeded Gabor Zoltan Pelva from Auburn at 12:30 p.m. (also at Club Six-50). Pelva is currently the No. 49 ranked singles player in the country.
Junior Alex Bucewicz will start his schedule at 9:30 a.m., Friday, against Florida A&M's Zura Zhvania, at the Racquet Club. The winner of that match will face No. 4 seeded Romain Ambert from Mississippi State at 1:15 p.m., Friday.
Sophomore Alex Jago will round out the Tiger contingent. Jago will compete at Club Six-50 for his opening round match against Mississippi State's Jose-Carlos Pinto. That match will begin at 10:45 a.m., Friday, with the winner facing No. 25 seeded Jason Hazley from LSU at 2:30 p.m.
The Southeast Regional is one of nine NCAA Division I men's regionals that will be taking place over the last three weeks of October at campuses throughout the country. The Memphis regional will be one of four taking place this weekend. The University of Tulsa will host the Central Championships, beginning Thursday as well, and the University of Oregon will host the West Regional, beginning Friday. Also starting Friday will be the Northeast Regional, hosted by Cornell University.
The 2003 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the tournament this weekend's participants will be trying to qualify for, is the nation's premier collegiate indoor tennis tournament, and is the second of three national championship events for the college tennis season. The first event, the IcyHot/ITA Men's All-American Championships, were held last week at the University of Georgia. The third event is the season-ending NCAA Championships in May. Overall, more than 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the ITA Regional and National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Indoor Championships were inaugurated in 1978. Recent participants include current professionals James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan and Laura Granville. Veteran pros Todd Martin and Lisa Raymond are also among the past champions.
As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA promotes both athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, presented by the USTA, and the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings for both men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also administers a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship.
The Racquet Club of Memphis hosts numerous USTA and other tennis tournaments throughout the year. The Racquet Club hosted the ITA Small College Championships three years ago, and is hosting its first-ever ITA Southeast Regional. The club is also the site of the Kroger/St. Jude Tennis Tournament. The Kroger St. Jude is one of only nine championship-level tournaments in North America and is one of only two in the world to be held in a private club. For 26 years, the sport's biggest stars have come to Memphis and have voted the February tournament among their favorite stops worldwide on the ATP Tour. Two years ago, the women's professional tennis tour (WTA), also made Memphis a stop on their tour. Both tournaments are held the same week, bringing the attention of the tennis world to the Bluff City.
The Racquet Club was also recently honored by the USTA with a 2003 Outstanding Facility Award. Memphis was one of just three private clubs and the only one in the USTA Southern region to earn the award.
Ranked Players Appearing at the Southeast Regional (& opening-round match and time)
No. 2 Bo Hodges, Georgia
No. 9 Jesse Witten, Kentucky
No. 10 Catalin Gard, Ole Miss
No. 14 Simon Rea, Tennessee
No. 19 Paul Ciorascu, Ole Miss
No. 35 Matt Lockin, Vanderbilt
No. 49 Gabor Zoltan Pelva, Auburn
No. 52 Chris Gostek, Alabama
No. 61 Stephen Mitchell, Alabama
No. 67 Matias Ormaza, Georgia
No. 74 Scott Brown, Vanderbilt
No. 97 Claes Lindholm, Ole Miss
No. 99 Vlad Obradovic, Florida