Men's tennis begins fall; schedule announced

Ole Miss head men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick announced his schedule for 2008-09 Tuesday. Now he loads his team up for its first trip.

The Rebels are headed to this weekend's Collegiate Championships in Flushing Meadow, N.Y., in a tourney to be played at the National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open.

"This is certainly an exciting venue to start the season," said Chadwick, whose Rebels will again be among the national powers this season.

It will take some time to get the team together that the Rebels can likely become. Two new players will join the veterans in January, and potentially a third.

There's actually already one new addition to the team this fall. Otto Sauer, Sweden's top junior, is on campus and heading to New York with his teammates.

"Otto is another in a long line of extremely talented Swedes that have played for Ole Miss," Chadwick said. "He is an excellent addition to the program, and we look forward to his contributions this year and into the future."

German twins Marcel and Christoff Thiemann have signed and will arrive in January to compete with the Rebs in the spring.

It's been reported that potentially joining the Rebels in January is one of the best junior players ever from Mississippi, 17-year-old Devin Britton. He was recently a finalist in the prestigious U.S. Open Junior Tennis Championships, played right where the Rebels are going this weekend.

With two returning All-Americans in seniors Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge, an All-SEC honoree in junior Kalle Norberg, and sophomore Tucker Vorster, the Rebels should have another strong lineup to make a run at national honors.

The fall tournaments aren't team events, and only Berg, ten Berge, Norberg, and Sauer will make the trip to NYC this weekend. Team events begin in January. The fall tournaments do, however, count toward NCAA singles and doubles standings.

The Rebels are coming off another outstanding season in 2007-08. They won their seventh consecutive SEC West title, the SEC Tournament Championship, advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight and finished the year ranked No. 6 in the nation.

Following this weekend's action, the Rebels head to Waco, Texas for the Baylor Invitational (Sept. 26-28). Members of the team will compete in the USTA Future in California, followed by the ITA All-American Championships (Oct. 3-12) in Tulsa, Okla. The ITA Southeast Regional Championships will once again take place in Lexington, Ky., Oct. 16-20. The Rebels will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Oct. 24-26 for the Alabama Invitational.

Rounding out the fall, the second national championship tournament (ITA National Indoors) of the year takes place Nov. 1-4 in Charlottesville, Va., while some members will be in Athens, Ga., for the Bulldog Scramble.

Ole Miss kicks off the spring season Jan. 16-19 with the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky. The Rebels have enjoyed huge success at the SEC Indoor Championships through the years.

Following the SEC Indoor, the Rebels will host their first of nine homes matches with Troy coming to Oxford on Jan. 29 for an indoor match.

The prestigious National Team Indoor has expanded to 64 teams and will be played much like the NCAA Team Championship, with teams hosting first and second round matches and the winners advancing to the Final 16 (Feb. 13-16) in Chicago. Ole Miss is one of the 16 host sites.

Joining the Rebels in those first and second rounds on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Gillom Sports Center will be Rice, Wake Forest, and Kentucky.

The Rebels will play Mississippi State in the annual Mississippi Cup on Feb. 5 in Jackson. Ole Miss has won nine straight Mississippi Cups and has defeated MSU 21 times in a row.

Highlighting the non-conference schedule in the spring are match-ups at Ohio State (Feb. 11), who ended the 2008 season ranked No. 3, and Baylor (Feb. 27), who finished ranked No. 8. The Rebels will also play at TCU on Feb. 26.

To open SEC play the Rebels welcome two-time defending NCAA champion Georgia on March 6, followed by top 10-ranked Tennessee on March 8.

The Rebels play at Alabama (March 13), at Auburn (March 15) and at West Florida (March 19). The month concludes with a showdown at Florida (March 27), before they return to Oxford for three matches, hosting South Carolina (March 29), Kentucky (April 3) and Vanderbilt (April 5).

Ole Miss concludes the regular season on the road at LSU (April 10), Arkansas (April 12) and Mississippi State (April 18).

The Rebels will defend their SEC Tournament title April 23-26 in Auburn, Ala. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships will be May 8-9 at various sites across the country. Ole Miss has hosted a regional eight years in a row. This year's NCAA Finals return to College Station, Texas, site of the Rebels last NCAA Final Four appearance (2005).

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