Sept. 26, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. -- After nearly four years of playing professional tennis, 2009 NCAA Singles Champion, Devin Britton is back at Ole Miss. Britton is working toward his degree, having turned pro after his freshman season and only one semester in college.
He will also serve as a student assistant for the men's tennis team under head coach Billy Chadwick and associate head coach Toby Hansson.
"Devin led the team to an SEC Tournament Championship on his way to winning the NCAA Championship," Chadwick said. "Those are great credentials, and it is a tremendous opportunity for the team to learn from one of the best."
"I love Oxford and consider this place home, so it's great to be back," Britton said. "It's been a breath of fresh air after traveling for the last four years, year in and year out.
"A lot of different things factored into it. I was just tired of the weekly grind of the tour, and I needed a break. I figured I would try to come back, get my degree and just enjoy Oxford. I'm pumped to be working with the team. The team looks really good, and hopefully we can do some great things in the time I'm here."
On tour, Britton won 12 ITF Futures and two ATP Challenger doubles titles, to go along with a singles title in the Sacramento Futures in June 2012. He was ranked as high as No. 378 in the world in singles and No. 119 in doubles and last played professionally in March.
Britton also received a wildcard into the 2009 US Open as the reigning NCAA singles champion, where he faced then-No. 1 and 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer in the first round. Even though he lost in straight sets, Britton did break Federer twice.
"First round in the 2009 US Open against Federer, it's tough to beat that," Britton said. "It's the biggest stage in tennis. It's 20,000 people, playing against the best player, probably of all time. It's tough to top that."
From his experience on the tour, Britton said he can relate to the players and help them with the different things that they're going through, as well as hitting with them every day and also helping the program in recruiting.
For the Jackson, Miss., native, it's not only his love for the University and Oxford, but also giving back.
"It speaks a lot to how incredible this university is," Britton said. "Not a lot of people would want to come back to their school after being at a higher level. I can't say enough how much I love the Ole Miss fan base and the people here. There's no better support group out there.
They gave me so much, coming to school here, having a full scholarship, so I'm going to continue to give back in any way that I can."
Britton did not rule out a return to professional tennis, however, and he will continue to work toward that, along with finishing his degree and serving as a student assistant.
"I'm not sure yet," he said. "I'm going to focus on getting my degree now. And after that, I will reconsider going back on tour. I'm definitely not considering myself retired just yet. I'm 22, so there's still some time. It's definitely a possibility that I can get back out there, but we'll see."
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller