Britton turns pro

It comes as no major surprise, but Ole Miss freshman tennis sensation, on the heels of winning the NCAA singles title, has decided to turn professional. Read Ole Miss Coach Billy Chadwick's comments inside.

Ole Miss Coach Billy Chadwick expected the news. . .

. . . and was braced for it.

Devin Britton, a Rebel freshman from Brandon, MS, and the youngest winner of the NCAA's singles title ever, has opted to turn pro after one collegiate season.

"Of course we wanted him to stay, but this is a great move for Devin and we have been expecting it since he won the NCAAs," said Chadwick. "He's ready to make the move and got a great package to sign. I could not be happier for him.

"The USTA was hungry for Devin to turn pro and there is nothing negative about it, even on our end."

That's probably not the statement you would expect from a coach losing the number one player in the country, but Chadwick has his reasons.

"Anytime you have someone as high-profile as Devin, you better be ready for this kind of news. We have had Plan B in place for quite some time," Billy continued. "We have been recruiting as if he was not coming back for a long time.

"And because of Devin and us being able to hold our rankings through the years, recruiting has become easier. We will sign two really good players to come in January out of six we are recruiting. Young players know that we can help them develop and Devin gives us a track record of having a national champion. People in the know understand that Devin got better while he was here and that is important in recruiting."

Chadwick believes his program will grow to be even stronger.

"The trickle down affect of having Devin in our program will be felt for a long time," he said. "One, it has energized the youth tennis programs in the state. Two, having Devin has grown our support a great deal with more fans and more attention.

"To have a homegrown kid like that come along and be a part of your program does nothing but help, no matter how long you have him."

Devin had told Chadwick before going to the major junior tournaments in Europe after he won the NCAAs that unless he got everything he wanted, he would not sign a pro deal and would come back to Ole Miss.

"He loved it here and loved being a part of this team, but he could not turn down what was being offered. He got everything he wanted," Chadwick closed. "The bottom line is that Devin's impact on our program will continue whether he came back or not.

"All I can do is thank him and wish him all the best and I feel certain he will be a great ambassador of our team and our school for the rest of his life. He's a great kid living his dream on his terms. How can I not be happy?"

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