It may be cold in Mississippi, but the Ole Miss men’s tennis team will be enjoying much warmer temperatures in sunny Naples, Florida this week as they kick off the 2015 season at the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational.
The five-day tournament features host Florida Gulf Coast University, TCU, Rice and LSU. The Rebels, who begin the year ranked No. 31 in the nation, will play singles and doubles against everyone except LSU, as both teams agreed not to play since they face each other in the SEC season.
Play begins Thursday for the Rebels with doubles against Rice and TCU.
“There will be plenty of good tennis and so it’s a great way to start off the season,” head coach Toby Hansson said. “We’re not that familiar with Florida Gulf Coast, but TCU has had a great recruiting class, so they should have a very strong team. Rice has always had a good program. I am good friends with the coach and he’s done a good job over there. With the competition we’ll be facing it will be a good challenge for us.”
The Rebels return five of the top six from last year. Competing in Florida this week will be senior William Kallberg, juniors Stefan Lindmark, Joe Rogers and Zach Wilder, sophomores Ricardo Jorge and Vinod Gowda and freshmen Gustav Hansson and Zvonimir Babic.
Lindmark opens the spring campaign ranked No. 80 after a solid fall, while Jorge earned his first ranking at No. 120 after a 10-4 record in the fall.
“The guys all enjoyed some time off to spend with their families and recover mentally from classes,” said Hansson, referring to the month break after the fall semester. “It’s exciting to see so many of them working on their own to get ready for the season. I feel like they are all well-prepared for this, and I am excited to see who is ready to go from the first strike of the ball.”
New this year, matches will feature no-ad scoring as well doubles to six with a tiebreaker at 6-all. Singles will still be best two of three sets.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports Information