OXFORD, Miss. – While his teammates continue to prepare for the season opening tournament next weekend, Ole Miss men’s tennis junior Nik Scholtz is across the ocean with another set of teammates, as his country, South Africa, prepares to face Slovenia in Davis Cup action.
South Africa, looking to remain in Group I, will face Slovenia at Park Tivoli in Ljubljana, Slovenia. If they lose this weekend, South Africa would face a match against Russia in October where a win would be necessary to avoid dropping down to Group II.
This marks the second time for Scholtz, a two-time All-American in singles and doubles, to represent his country in Davis Cup.
“It’s always exciting, whether it’s the first or second time,” said Scholtz, the day before he left to join his teammates in Slovenia. “It’s going to be on clay this time, which makes it a little tougher for our guys, but it will be fun. I am looking forward to seeing all the guys again. I am very grateful to the University of Mississippi for allowing me the opportunity to go and play for my country.”
Scholtz made his Davis Cup debut in September of last year when South Africa matched up against Canada. While he had faced high-level competition playing in the SEC, nothing could compare to his first opponent, Milos Raonic, ranked 15th in the world at the time.
“It was awesome,” Scholtz said. “Raonic is the best player I’ve ever played. It was a good experience. I learned a lot from it. It doesn’t matter who you play, they’re going to be a good player. He is obviously a couple levels higher than what we are used to. It was fun to be able to play with those guys [like Raonic], but obviously experience-wise, they’re a little better, especially on the big points for example, when it’s 5-5, 30-30.”
His first time in the Davis Cup, Scholtz played on the hard courts, but as he noted, this weekend’s matches are being contested on clay. Scholtz admitted it’s not his favorite surface, but he does have some pretty good results on clay from juniors.
“In juniors I played the top tournaments on really nice clay courts at really nice clubs,” he said. “They are a lot better then what you might see at the Futures level. We have a few clay courts [in South Africa], but we don’t host any tournaments on them. With six days to prepare before the matches begin, we will definitely be ready and better adapted to the surface.”
Scholtz finished up the 2013 collegiate season advancing to the NCAA Semifinals in doubles and earning All-America honors in singles and doubles. Following that, he played in several ITF Futures in Turkey with fellow countryman and Rebel alum, Tucker Vorster, and they won twice. Scholtz talked about where his game is at heading into this weekend and beyond.
“I took a long time off after Turkey to rest my arm. So far I haven’t had any problems with my arm, so it was probably a good thing. The first few days back were a little rusty, but I know when it comes time to play, I’ll be ready,” Scholtz said.
In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a... read more
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players. Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called... read more
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night. "It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our... read more
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance. "You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive... read more
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville. Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th... read more
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one... read more
Photo Gallery Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build... read more
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19. "It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace... read more
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole... read more
Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2)... read more
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, visited campus Wednesday. He spent time with head coach Hugh Freeze, spoke to the team and signed the equipment room Wall of Fame. "He's one of... read more
Ole Miss is bowl eligible for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze after a 34-24 win over Arkansas this past Saturday. The Rebels are also 6-3 for the first time since 2009, when the started 8-3 before... read more
After Ole Miss took a 20-10 lead into halftime, the momentum swung in favor of Arkansas after an interception, a touchdown-scoring drive and a defensive three-and-out to start the third quarter. Now leading 20-17, senior quarterback Barry Brunetti converted a... read more