ITA Tulsa All-American Players To Watch
Jeff McMillan, Tennis Atlantic
The most exciting individual college tennis event of the year gets underway Saturday in Tulsa. The ITA All-Americans. This tournament features literally every D1 player that wishes to enter, from main draw to qualies to pre-qualies. The colossal field often yields a ton of interesting results and gives college tennis fans a very early look at what we can expect in the upcoming dual season.
Booby Knight at collegetennistoday has the in-depth breakdown of the tournament format here.
Players to watch in Tulsa
Main Draw selections:
– Wayne Montgomery, Georgia
Montgomery will be one of the favorites to take home the title in Tulsa. The 2nd year Georgia Bulldog has already had a very strong start to the fall individual season by taking home the title in Athens a couple weekends ago in the Southern Intercollegiate Fall Championships. His relentless style of play will wreak havoc on the draw and I expect the South African to be one of the final players standing vying for the early season championship.
– Jordan Daigle, LSU
Last season was a season of breakthrough for Daigle at LSU. The LSU junior began his career at Virginia, but after not receiving much playing time as a Cavalier he opted to return closer to home to play for the LSU Tigers. This turned out to be a very good decision as he was a force at #1 for the Tigers for much of the SEC season. This season Daigle looks to improve even more and to solidify himself as one of the nation’s strong #1 players. Like Montgomery, his fall has started very well as Daigle took home the Cajun Tennis Classic title this past weekend in Lafayette. He will look to continue that momentum and Tulsa. Look for Daigle to cause a few surprises this year at the All-Americans.
– Arthur Rinderkneck, Texas A&M
Entering his 2nd season in college tennis, expectations have now been upped for Rinderkneck. As the season wore on last year, the Frenchman improved more and more until he was in the discussion for national freshman of the year. He had several clutch clinching wins for the Aggies and grew as a player. Tulsa will be his first opportunity to show what he can do in the upcoming season. His always-dangerous lanky ball striking will be a force for any player in the draw to deal with.
– Mikael Torpegaard, Ohio State
No other current college player can claim they have played on a stage equal to what Torpegaard just played on a couple of weeks ago when the Buckeye sophomore had the opportunity to play Rafa Nadal in a live Davis Cup rubber. He succumbed in straight sets but it was undoubtedly a priceless experience for him (he also played David Ferrer in a dead rubber). Will those matches mean anything for him going forward? He is one of the more talented players in college tennis and with a year of experience under his belt he can make a push for the ITA top 10 this year. Making a deep run in Tulsa would be a phenomenal way to kickoff his 2015-2016 season.
– Mazen Osama, Alabama
The long awaited debut of Mazen Osama will be in Tulsa at the All-Americans. The Egyptian has had an interesting route to college tennis. Originally slated to be an Ole Miss Rebel, Osama then elected to not play college tennis last year and there was doubt as to whether he would ever make his way to the USA for college tennis play. But he inexplicably landed in Tuscaloosa and will look to improve the Crimson Tide this year. His transition from Egyptian futures to American hard court college tennis will be very interesting to follow.
– Michael Redlicki, Arkansas
The older Redlicki brother is finally back in college tennis after his tumultuous tenure at Duke ended with him being removed from the team followed by a year long hiatus. There were rumors that Redlicki would become a part of the Roddick behemoth in Norman but it was not be. Instead he will look to help the Arkansas Razorbacks get out of the SEC bottom level. He began his career at Arkansas last weekend by winning the Georgia Tech Invitational Draw A title. The lefty was a controversial figure in college tennis at Duke. Will he continue his act at Arkansas or will he cut out the antics and focus solely on tennis?
– Hendrik Jebens, San Diego State
Quietly one of the most dominant #2’s in the nation last year, it appears that Jebens has upped his game for the upcoming season. He is fresh off of a big win over Robert Quiroz in California futures qualifying as well as a win over former Louisville #1 Andrew Carter. The Aztec junior is one of those players who can surprise here in Tulsa. Not someone who gets a ton of recognition but a dangerous improving player nonetheless. Do not be shocked if you see Jebens moving along the draw and by knocking out some of the better-known players.
– Enzo Sommer, Washington
The #4 ranked ITA newcomer will make his first mark in college tennis in Tulsa. The 6’4 Swiss will be a dangerous player to everyone in the draw. As with every highly rated newcomer, how well they transition to college tennis is the key question and the first tournament can shed some light on that question. Washington definitely needs Sommer to be all he is hyped up to be if they are to return to the NCAA tournament this year and again be a contender in the Pac 12.
-Sebastian Rey, Tulane
The junior from the UK has started off the 15-16 campaign very strongly and will be a player to watch in Tulsa coming out of the pre-qualifying. In last weekend’s Rice Invitational, Rey posted a dominating win over Nick Naumann of Texas and then won the draw by beating higher ranked teammate Constantin Schmitz in the final in a tense 3rd set tiebreak. These results show that Rey can beat highly regarded players and therefore could be someone that makes some noise out of the Pre-Q draw.
– Yannick Zuern, North Florida
Already this fall Zuern boasts wins over Michael Rinaldi of FSU and Harrison Richmond of Virginia. The strong #2 player for UNF should probably be in the qualifying draw and is one of the strongest players in the pre-qualies. Nobody in this section of the tournament will want to see Zuern as their opponent and the junior form Germany should make some noise in Tulsa.
– Harrison Scott, Texas
Perhaps overlooked originally thanks to the strength of Texas’s incoming freshman class, it would now be a mistake for anyone to overlook the freshman from Calgary. Scott is 9-0 already in fall play with impressive wins over Trevor Johnson of TCU and Florian Lakat of Cal (albeit in a non-traditional format). His win streak so far this fall could continue in Tulsa. Sometimes we see these players get on a roll in the fall and rack up the wins. One that comes to mind is AJ Catanzariti of A&M last year who compiled many wins in the fall as a freshman. Scott could very well do the same thing here in Tulsa.
-Jerry Lopez, TCU
Every year in college tennis we see players transfer to a new program and become significantly better in their new location. For whatever reason the new scenery gives them renewed confidence and game clarity. This may be the case this year with Jerry Lopez. A highly regarded player but one who never really got off the ground at Kentucky and never made the impact that the Wildcats had hoped for. TCU is a big time program on the rise and being around excellence and new teammates may turn Lopez into the player he was expected to be this year. We will see starting in Tulsa.