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Former Gustie Butorac to bring Professional Tennis to Minnesota on Dec. 5th

Over the past couple of years, the tennis world has seen an exciting trend take place as several ITA All-Americans have found success on the ATP and WTA Pro Tours, climbing up the ranks.

Probably one of the most unheralded of all of the former varsity college players to find success at the next level is Eric Butorac, from Division III school, Gustavus Adolphus College, located in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Butorac and doubles partner, Rajeev Ram of Illinois, are continuing their movement up the world doubles rankings having just reached the semifinals of of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. With the semifinal appearance, Eric is now ranked #37 and Rajeev is ranked #38 in doubles, making them the fourth and fifth highest-ranked American doubles players. They trail Mike and Bob Bryan and Mardy Fish. 

The event was designed by Butorac, a native and graduate from the state of Minnesota, which brings features some of the world's best former varsity college tennis players showing off their skills in a challenge designed to benefit tennis in Minnesota and inspire younger players to become better.

Steve Wilkinson, reecently-retired head men’s tennis coach at Gustavus Adolphus College for the past 39 years and the winningest coach in men’s tennis collegiate history, will once again serve as Butorac's Coach, serving as Captain of Team Butorac .  

Wilkinson is the winningest coach in the history of collegiate tennis with 929 victories (His overall mark was 929-279). His teams compiled a MIAC record of 337-1 and claimed 36 league titles. Wilkinson’s squads won NCAA Championships in 1980 and 1982 and in addition, his players claimed six national doubles titles and two national singles titles. He also has coached 46 players to 87 ITA All-America honors -- including Eric Butorac.

Coach Wilkinson had this to say about Eric Butorac and the Minnesota Tennis Challenge:

"Eric has a strong commitment to varsity college tennis. His college education prepared him well for the Pro Circuit. He developed writing skills that have led to many interesting blogs, that can be found here on the ITA web site. He developed management skills and maturity that have allowed him to be an effective leader on the ATP Council. Also, his background in psychology and counseling has given him the ability to be an effective court leader with a variety of doubles partners."

Coach Wilkinson went on to say:

"In the Gustavus Tennis Program, he acquired an approach to life that emphasizes things within his control. We call them the Three-Crowns: Positive Attitude, Full Effort and Good Sportsmanship. Eric has been able to handle both the ups and downs on the Pro Circuit, knowing that true success is definied by things within his control. I am looking forward to an exciting evening with outstanding tennis. It includes four-nationally ranked players who got their start Rochester, MN and another who grew up in Minnesapolis. The event will be entertaining, will showcase top tennis from the Pro to 12 & under level, and will raise money for tennis and character development in this region."

"The ITA is proud to promote this exciting event, featuring a star-studded lineup of former ITA All-Americans who demonstrate how to be successful on the college and pro level," said David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director, "and we encourage everyone in the area to participate."