Inaugural Oracle Collegiate Tennis Challenge to Debut at BNP Paribas Open
Four NCAA/ITA Teams to Compete this Weekend
The initial challenge will include matches among four NCAA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association teams: Baylor University, University of Illinois, Tulsa and the University of California-Berkeley. The matches will be played on the final weekend of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.
Indian Wells has become the premier tennis venue in the world. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison acquired the Indian Wells Tennis Center and the BNP Paribas event in 2009 and immediately began upgrading the facility. At this year’s event, Indian Wells will debut its new 8,000-seat Stadium 2.
“We are committed to providing support for both professional and collegiate tennis,’’ said Larry Ellison. “There is no venue in the world better equipped to host this first-time collegiate event than the newly expanded Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.”
Oracle President Mark Hurd, who attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship, is a strong supporter of collegiate tennis. The Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University was recently selected to be the host for the 2015 NCAA Tennis Championships. Hurd said he is hopeful that the Oracle Collegiate Tennis Challenge will become a fixture during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in the future.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the skill levels of today’s collegiate tennis players,’’ Hurd said. “We hope this event will encourage more fans to support and follow collegiate tennis in their communities.’’
All matches will count toward the official collegiate team records for the 2014 season.
The Oracle Collegiate Tennis Challenge is free for patrons with BNP Paribas Open tickets or event credentials for the respective dates.
For more information, visit http://www.bnpparibas.com/
Baylor has been one of the top-five most successful tennis programs in the country over the last 10 years. Since Matt Knoll took over the program in 1996, Baylor tennis has become synonymous with success. BU has been ranked inside the top-20 in each of the last 10 years and won the school’s first NCAA Championship in 2004. Touting a Big 12 Conference all-time record of 101-18, the Bears have owned the league with 11 Big 12 regular season and six Big 12 Championship crowns. Baylor has made 16 straight appearances in the NCAA Championships, including 12 consecutive trips to the Sweet Sixteen. Baylor finished the 2013 season with a 22-6 record including a 12-6 record against ranked opponents. Entering this season, the Bears were ranked No. 8 nationally and had five ranked singles players.
University of California – Berkeley (CAL)
University of California – Berkeley, which reached the quarterfinals of the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships in mid-February, has a 6-2 overall record and is ranked ninth in the latest ITA team poll (as of 2/18/14.) There are three Golden Bears ranked in the latest ITA singles poll: senior Ben McLachlan (2-4 record) is tied at No. 62; senior Campbell Johnson (14-6) is ranked No. 68 and freshman Andre Goransson (16-4) is ranked No. 118 (as of 2/18/14.) Two proud Cal Men’s Tennis alumni lead the Golden Bears: Peter Wright (class of ’91) is in his 21st year as head coach, while associate head coach Tyler Browne (class of 2008) is in his sixth year on the staff.
University of Tulsa
No. 32 Tulsa (8-5) has two singles players ranked and two doubles team ranked. Senior Clifford Marsland leads TU with a 9-1 singles record at the No. 2 position and with a No. 74 singles ranked, while senior Japie De Klerk, a NCAA Semi-finalist and an All-American in 2013, is ranked No. 106. Marsland and Dylan McCloskey lead TU with a 10-3 record at the No. 1 doubles position and with a No. 20 ranking, while De Klerk and Alejandro Espejo are ranked No. 47.
University of Illinois
Illinois has moved up 8 spots in the ITA rankings to No. 14 in the latest poll. They are fresh off of competing in their first National Indoor Championships in three years. They are 6-4 overall and 3-0 at home where they defeated #16 Notre Dame, #8 Texas A&M and #10 Texas in a span of 5 days. Illini have 3 players ranked in the top-30 in singles, including #8 Jared Hiltzik. Illinois is also highlighted by #5 Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon in doubles, who are 6-2 this spring.