The Tennessee men’s tennis team will once again tackle one of the nation’s toughest schedules as head coach Sam Winterbotham announced the 2007-08 schedule Wednesday. The schedule features 11 matches against teams that made the NCAA tournament last season including visits from Georgia and Illinois, who played for the national championship last season.
“I think it is very important to have a schedule that will challenge the team,” Winterbotham said. “We play in the best tennis conference in America but I also think that our non-conference schedule is equally as tough. If you want to be the best you have to play the best and I think we are on the right track with our schedule.”
The 2007-08 team will make its first public appearance on Sept. 8th in the first ever Alumni match to be played at 10 a.m. on Sept. 8.
“We have a great tennis history that the whole University and community should be proud of,” Winterbotham said. “I’m really excited to welcome back the former greats that have helped build the program. We are expecting members of the 1951 SEC championship team to come back and other players from all eras of Volunteer tennis.”
The Vols first tournament of the fall takes them to Nashville for the Vanderbilt Invitational. The Volunteers will then split up the next weekend with some of the squad traveling to Athens, Ga., for the Southern Intercollegiate Championships and the rest of the team playing in the Middle Tennessee Fall Invitational. The biggest tournament of the fall schedule is the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. UT sophomore Chris Racz has already qualified for the Main Draw after winning the ITA National Summer Championships this past week.
The Vols end the fall schedule playing in the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational and the Charles Fluitt Invitational in Lexington, Ky. The Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center and Outdoor Courts will host the USTA Knoxville Challenger in Oct. and Nov.
After returning from winter break, the team will travel to Oxford, Miss., for the SEC Men’s Coaches’ Indoor Championships. UT will also host the inaugural Tennessee Indoor Invitational the same weekend as the SEC Championships.
The Vols open the dual match schedule with six consecutive home matches. The home slate begins with a double header against Memphis and The Citadel on Jan. 25th. The non-conference schedule is highlighted when teams from the ACC and the Big Ten visit Knoxville on the first weekend of February. The weekend begins with Clemson, who finished the previous season ranked in the top-25 and ends with a Sunday afternoon match against 2007 national runner-up Illinois.
The Big Orange open SEC play when tennis power Ole Miss comes to town on the last day of February. The Vols end the regular season when defending national champion Georgia visits on April 12th. UT will also host SEC rivals Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt and travel to Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina.
The SEC tournament is being held in Fayetteville, Ark., from April 17-20. The NCAA Championships are being held in Tulsa, Okla., from May 16-26.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information