OXFORD, Miss. – The nation’s top men’s tennis teams will be on display this week, as Ole Miss hosts the SEC Championship Wednesday-Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
Play kicks off Wednesday at 1 p.m. with No. 12 Alabama vs. No. 13 seed Arkansas. The Rebels, ranked No. 6 in the nation, will meet the winner of Wednesday’s match Thursday at 3 p.m.
Admission to all matches is free, and with 11 teams in the current top 25, head coach Billy Chadwick encourages everyone to come see some of the best tennis in the country.
“We are excited to host the SEC Championship,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “From day one on Wednesday to day five on Sunday, it’s going to be fantastic tennis.”
Ole Miss comes into the tournament as the No. 5 seed. The Rebels won the SEC SEC Western Division Championship for the 10th time and tied for third in the overall standings with Texas A&M, Florida and South Carolina. This is the 17th time in 19 years that Ole Miss has finished the regular season in the top four overall.
“It’s always nice to get a title, and now we’ve got our sights on this tournament,” Chadwick said. “Looking at the draw, there is no such thing as a good draw in this tournament, because all the teams are so good. To put it in perspective, we finished tied for third overall with three other teams, we are seeded No. 5 in the tournament and ranked No. 6 nationally. That tells you how tough the SEC is.”
Not only are there 11 teams in the nation’s top 25, but the SEC boasts eight top 25 singles players and seven of the top 10 doubles teams.
Among those are Rebel All-Americans Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, who have led the team all season. Scholtz and Lutjen are ranked 15th and 16th, respectively in singles and team up as the fourth best doubles tandem in the nation.
“I am feeling a lot better,” said Scholtz, who has been dealing with an injury to his arm the last couple of weeks. “I received an injection in my elbow, and since then I’ve been improving a lot. I am ready to play. This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and we are really looking forward to bringing it home. We believe we can do it. In the SEC this year, everyone has been beating each other, so the title is definitely up for grabs.”
The Rebels have won this event three times, most recently in consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. They have advanced to at least the semifinals 15 times, including last year.
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