OXFORD, Miss. – When they secured the last point to win the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Doubles title, junior Jonas Lutjen and sophomore Johan Backstrom accomplished a first. They earned a trip to New York and the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
This week, the duo will be among the nation’s best players in the exclusive 20-team field at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The tournament begins Thursday Nov. 3 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 6.
As the only tournament on the ITA calendar to showcase elite players from every level of college tennis, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships serves as the culmination of the fall season. Hosted by Columbia University, this prestigious event features a 32-player singles draw and a 20-team doubles draw for men and women.
“It’s going to be a great experience. It’s my first trip to New York, and I am really excited,” Backstrom said. “I am looking forward to seeing the city and playing at the same facility where they host the U.S. Open. It’s just going to be amazing.”
Six of the nation’s top 10 teams are in the field including the No. 1 ranked team from Georgia Tech. Both Lutjen and Backstrom are looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re right there with some of the top teams,” Lutjen said. “We played well against some good teams last week, and we’re hoping to do the same this week. If we stay positive we have a good chance to do well this week.”
Lutjen and Backstrom played a few matches together last year, but at the ITA Southern Regional things really came together for both as they won six matches en route to the title.
“We served well at regionals, and that made the difference for us. We are playing well right now,” Backstrom said. “We played together some last season, but we are playing a lot better now. We’ve made some improvements in our games.”
“As Johan said, we’ve both been serving well and also returning well. We always fight hard on every point. No one expected us to be in New York, and now we’re going to face some of the best teams in the nation,” Lutjen said. “It will be my first time in New York as well, and I am really looking forward to it.”
Lutjen and Backstrom have a bye in the first round and will face the No. 4 seeded team of Nick Andrews-Chris Konigsfeldt from California at 9:30 a.m. CT Thursday.
The duo became the second Rebel tandem in a row to win the regional and advance to the National Indoor. Twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann won the Southern Regional last year and went on to reach the finals in New York.
“They’re two of the most improved players in the country and they showed that at the regionals in both singles and doubles,” said head coach Billy Chadwick, on his latest Southern Regional champions. “We’re very excited to be going to New York, and extremely proud of them. When you’re playing indoor doubles and playing a pro set, it is wide open. The key is you have to make sure and take care of your serve and be ready to play from the first point.”
Live scoring of the matches will be available by going to OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar. There will also be an exclusive live chat throughout the tournament at USTA.com.
Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference. Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more
Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more
Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more
Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more
Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more
The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more
After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more
Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more
Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more