PRETORIA, South Africa – For Ole Miss men’s tennis junior Nik Scholtz, his third Davis Cup appearance for his native country, South Africa, was perhaps his biggest tennis moment in the spotlight. Playing at home and facing a difficult task, he rose to the occasion and delivered a huge win when his team needed it most, to help South Africa defeat Monaco 3-2 and advance in Group Two.
Rain delayed the start of play on the opening day last Friday. By the time Scholtz took to the courts late afternoon at the Irene Country Club against world No. 276 Benjamin Balleret, his team trailed 0-1. Scholtz won the first set 7-5, but fell behind 1-3 in the second before play was suspended for the night. When play resumed on Saturday, the Caledon native fought back to force a tiebreaker, which he won 7-6(3) to take a two sets to love lead. Balleret, with over 10 years of experience in Davis Cup, won the next two sets 6-3 to even up the match. With the pressure squarely on Scholtz to avoid his team going down 0-2, he broke and won the deciding set 6-3 to even the tie at 1-1.
The win over Balleret marked the first big Davis Cup victory for the two-time collegiate All-American.
“It’s huge,” Scholtz said of his win over Balleret. “I have never played Davis Cup for my country in South Africa. It was pretty emotional after the win. It meant a lot having my parents there and my family and people who have been with me through all these years to where I am now. It’s been a long journey, and while this is not the end of the road, it’s definitely a small payoff for all the work that I have put in my whole life.”
South Africa won the doubles to take a 2-1 lead heading into the final day of play on Sunday, and then clinched the victory on Sunday winning the first singles match in straight sets.
With the win over Monaco, South Africa advances in Group Two to face Lithuania April 4-6 in South Africa.
As Scholtz turns his attention back to the collegiate season, he looks to build on his 2-0 start in dual singles this spring and improve his national ranking of No. 15 in singles.
“This was a big win for Nik,” Rebel head coach Billy Chadwick said. “Nik gave South Africa a victory when they needed it most, and that is the mark of a true champion. All of the Ole Miss family is proud of him.”
Scholtz and the Ole Miss men’s tennis team return to action Friday with a doubleheader against Southern Miss beginning at 10 a.m. at the Gillom Sports Center.
The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center. With a season of experience... read more
The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more
We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more
The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more
Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more
The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more
"Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more
Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more
The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more
Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more