Jan. 15, 2014
THE SEASON BEGINSWelcome to 2014
- The Vols are starting 2014 just like they ended last season: ranked sixth nationally
- The top four singles starters are returning for Tennessee: Mikelis Libietis, Hunter Reese, Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey.
- Sam Winterbotham is in his eighth year as head coach at Tennessee. In that time He and associate head coach Chris Woodruff have compiled a 159-49 record.
- The Vols have two ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams based on fall results. In singles, Hunter Reese is ranked 16th and Mikelis Libietis is 34th. In doubles, Libietis and Reese retained their hold on the No. 1 ranking. Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey are ranked for the first time at No. 28.
In Season Openers
- This is the second consecutive season the Vols open the schedule against Tennessee Tech. That meeting resulted in a 4-0 victory for the Vols.
- Tennessee has faced Eastern Kentucky the last two seasons. The Vols were 2-0 in those matches, including a 4-0 win last year on Jan. 21.
- In Winterbotham's seven-year tenure, the Vols are 88-13 at home, including 14-1 last year. They are 6-1 in season openers during that time.
- The Vols went 9-0 in January last year.
And on Monday
- Tennessee is back in action for the Monday holiday, hosting East Tennessee State at 10 a.m. and Murray State at 2 p.m. at Goodfriend Tennis Center
- Murray State is coached by former Vol and 1980 NCAA doubles champ Mel Purcell
- This will be the first meeting between the Vols and ETSU since 2011.
- All holiday weekend, many players might look familiar to fans to came to UT for the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships back in October. All four opponents are in the Ohio Valley Region and sent players to the tournament
- After a year of waiting, Poland native Bartosz Sawicki will be eligible to play for the Vols this weekend
- Sawicki will be a welcome addition to the roster. Prior to arriving at Tennessee, he was ranked as high as No. 811 on the ATP tour in doubles and won an ITF Futures doubles title in 2010. He also earned ATP points in singles.
- As a junior, he was ranked as high as No. 59 in the ITF world junior rankings. He won six ITF junior circuit doubles titles
Last Year ... What Happened?
- The Vols finished the season 26-9 overall and ended the year ranked sixth nationally
- The team reached the NCAA quarterfinals, the third time in four years the Vols have reached at least the quarterfinals
- They finished second in the SEC during the regular season and played their way into the conference title match
- In Winterbotham's seven years at UT, the Vols have been end-year top-10 five times
QUICK! Fall Highlights
- Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese made good on their No. 1 doubles ranking, battling illness to win the ITA All-American Championships. They also reached the final of the USTA/ITA National Indoors.
- Reese became Tennessee's first USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Region champion. He had 12 wins during the fall, two against top-10 players.
- Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey won their first doubles title together, doing so on a big stage. They won the USTA Clay Court Invitational in Orlando
- Three freshman -- Markus Kerner, Sean Karl and Sunay Bhat -- played their first career matches.
ICYMI: Awards from May 2013
- In a rare same-team decision by a national panel of coaches, both Winterbotham and Woodruff were both awarded college tennis' highest coaching honors. Winterbotham was named the ITA National Coach of the Year, and Woodruff was the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year.
- Mikelis Libietis was named the ITA National Player to Watch, in addition to his SEC Player of the Year nod
- The All-Americans: Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese