Nov. 25, 2008
Tennessee head tennis coach Sam Winterbotham announced Tuesday that he will add prep standouts Taylor Patrick and Max Stevens to his squad this January.
"We're really excited about Max and Taylor," Winterbotham said. "The decision to graduate early from high school is not an easy one but both guys are extremely eager to take advantage of the training we have here at Tennessee.
The decision though has given them a jump on fall 2009 because now they can come in and train with our players and coaches. Both players plan is to be able to contribute immediately when they come back in the fall. The goal right now is to use the spring semester to fully acclimate to college and understand what it means to play at the University of Tennessee."
Stevens hails from Dallas, Texas and is ranked as a five-star recruit by tennisrecruiting.net. The Highland Park high school product is ranked as the 33rd-best tennis recruit in the class of 2009 and the No. 2 recruit in Texas. The future Vol has competed in numerous national tournaments as a prep. He won the Boys 18 A singles division at the Bob Faulkner Super Champ in October and the Dallas Super Champ in May. The Texas native also partnered with Ryan Lipman to win the Grade 3 U.S. International Stevens also advanced to the finals of the USTA National Open in El Paso in May. Stevens has also played internationally, as he spent the early part of 2008 playing in Mexico. He was a semifinalist in the Grade 4 Jalisco Junior and a finalist in the ITF Jamaica Junior. Stevens, who has an ITF junior world ranking of 234, chose to accept UT's scholarship offer over other tennis powers, including SEC rival LSU.
"I'm really excited to get Max on campus," Winterbotham said. "He is a fantastic competitor and a terrific young man. He's had great success in singles and doubles playing both USTA and ITF events around the world and I think he has a very bright future as a Vol."
UT's other freshman enrollee, Taylor Patrick, does not have to come nearly as far as his future classmate, Stevens, to attend UT. Patrick, who currently attends Bearden high school in Knoxville, chose to graduate early from high school and join the tennis team beginning in January. The 2005-06 math student of the year at Bearden is the nephew of Lady Vol co-head tennis coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick. As a freshman at Bearden, Patrick won the Class AAA state doubles championship with partner Hunter Maltzburger. After the season he was named Knoxville News-Sentinel PrepXtra tennis player of the year. Since then, he has won the Knoxville Racquet Club Mid-Winter boys and girls Southern Level 3 junior tournament in January and the Pepsi Junior Open in Florence, S.C.., in April. Patrick, who is currently ranked second in the state of Tennessee in the boys 18' singles rankings is a four-star recruit according to tennisrecruiting.net and is the 108th-best tennis recruit in the nation.
"Taylor is a phenomenal athlete," Winterbotham said. "He has so much potential to grow as a tennis player and our plan for Taylor is to give him the necessary experience to allow all his talents to come out. I see him as being a real key to our success in the coming seasons."
Patrick, Stevens and the eight returning Vols begin the spring season in January with a trip to Lexington, Ky., for the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships.