OXFORD, Miss. - On the heels of the retirement announcement of legendary coach Billy Chadwick, the No. 11 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team is looking to send the three-time SEC Coach of the Year out on a memorable note after soon to be 35 historic years at the University of Mississippi. The Rebels begin the season this weekend at the MLK Invitational in Atlanta, Ga.
The tournament will feature a round-robin dual match format, and will play host to familiar foes for the Rebels as well as some of the top college teams and players in the country. In addition to the Rebels, the tournament is comprised of No. 3 ranked Georgia, No. 21 Memphis and Georgia Tech.
"We feel like we have four of the top teams in the country," said Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick of the field. "It will be great competition and this early in the season is exactly what we want."
The Rebels return four of their top six players from last year's team that ended the season ranked No. 10 in the country. Ole Miss is led by two-time All-American junior Nik Scholtz, who is ranked No. 15 in the nation. The Rebels also feature junior William Kallberg and sophomore Stefan Lindmark who both are individually ranked No. 104 and No. 108, respectively. The two lefties from Sweden are also ranked as the No. 51 doubles duo in the country. Joining Scholtz, Kallberg and Lindmark this year is senior Johan Backstrom, sophomores Zach Wilder and Joe Rogers and redshirt freshman Vinod Gowda.
"We have to figure out some combinations in doubles so we do have a little work to do," said Chadwick. "I like that the guys are guaranteed three singles matches and three doubles matches (in the MLK Invitational), which is exactly what we need."
The Rebels will kick things off on Saturday, January 18th at 1 p.m. against Georgia Tech, playing doubles, followed by singles. Ole Miss will then play Georgia on Sunday, January 19th at 9 a.m. and Memphis on Monday, January 20th at 9 a.m., implementing the same aforementioned format. There will be no team score. Awards will be given to the individual singles winner as well as the individual doubles team winner.
Looking ahead, the Rebels will host the ITA Kickoff Weekend January 25-26 at the Gillom Sports Center. That field will also feature some of the nation's top teams, including Michigan (No. 26), Clemson (No. 23) and Illinois (No. 22). Ole Miss will face the Wolverines Jan. 25 at 10 a.m.
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