Former world-class tennis professional and Knoxville native Ben Testerman has joined the Tennessee men's tennis program as the volunteer assistant coach and is now in his second season with the Volunteers.
Testerman's accomplishments on the tennis court are well known in Tennessee. He achieved a career-high world ranking of 22 in singles and 33 in doubles. Notably, he reached the semifinals of the 1984 Australian Open.
Head coach Sam Winterbotham said Testerman's playing experience, teaching skills and ability to relate to players makes him a strong asset to the Vols.
"We very excited and feel incredibly fortunate to have Ben join us," Winterbotham said. "To have somebody with Ben's playing experience as a player and experience as a coach, you're just lucky as a program to have someone like that."
The Vols have two former world top-30 professional tennis players on staff. Associate head coach Chris Woodruff was ranked as high as No. 29 on tour and won two ATP-level titles, including the Canadian Open, a Masters 1000 event.
Testerman joined a team with a few familiar faces. He worked some with local Vols Taylor Patrick and Brandon Fickey as they were growing up and also knew Hunter Reese, who is from Georgia. They were a similar age to Testerman's daughter, Mischa, who played two years at Kentucky. Her tennis development got him involved again in the game.
"When Sam and Chris asked me, I felt honored and flattered," Testerman said. "I felt like it was a good time for me to do that in terms of time commitment. What I really want to do is support Sam and Chris in what they've been doing. I want to do the same with the guys, to build them up and encourage them."
Woodruff, who has been friends with Testerman for years, said the choice for the new coach was obvious.
"I know Ben was a world-class junior and a world-class professional, but more importantly to me, he's a world-class person and someone I trust deeply," Woodruff said. "He's been to some of our matches. He knows some of our players. It was the logical decision. He has the credentials."