The University of Memphis men's tennis team is coming off back-to-back impressive weekends in some of college tennis' top events. The Tigers are now looking to use that momentum to compete in a professional-level event this weekend at the Players' Choice Open on the clay in Birmingham, Alabama. The qualifying singles draw of the event opens on Friday.
Four Tigers will suit up for the USA F28 Event, including a pair of Tigers who already have pro points under their belts in their final seasons of college tennis. Seniors Joe Salisbury and Cedric De Zutter both earned ATP points over the summer to become the second and third Tigers with pro points. Junior Connor Glennon won his first pro points while playing a USA Futures event with the Tigers last fall. Salisbury earned his singles points over the summer playing in a Futures event in his native England, advancing to the quarterfinals of the F12 event there, while De Zutter is carrying 30 ATP doubles points after winning the Belgium F6 event this past summer.
Salisbury and De Zutter will be joined in the singles qualifying draw by teammates David O'Leary and Jarryd Woog. O'Leary has his senior season off to a 3-4 start in singles play and is 3-3 in doubles play already this fall. Woog's first full college season is off to a 6-3 mark in singles play and he is 4-1 in doubles. This will be the second career Futures event for Woog, who competed in a Futures event in Little Rock last spring while redshirting with the Tigers to prepare for this fall.
"It was nice that our regionals were last week so that we could participate in this event this weekend," Head Coach Paul Goebel said. "Some other universities from the region will also participate in the tournament this weekend, but since it's not a college match, I won't be able to coach them on the court during the match, so it'll be good for me to see how they respond out there."
The Tigers are coming off a weekend where they sent three singles players to the Round of 16 and claimed the doubles championship title in one of the toughest regionals in the country. Part of a tough Tiger fall slate each year, the Tigers' regional sent three teams to the NCAA Round of 16 last year.
The Tigers will sign in to the singles draw on Thursday night and will find out the bracket after check-in is complete. The tournament will be played on the clay outdoors at the Highland Park Tennis Center in Birmingham, Ala. From the qualifying draw, the Tigers will want to win three matches to qualify for the main draw. Once in the main draw, a win in the singles half of the draw will result in ATP pro singles points. On the doubles side, ATP points are not awarded until the semifinal round with no qualifying bracket. Just 16 teams are accepted into the doubles main draw, which will be announced on Friday afternoon.
With a number of national, collegiate-level tournaments on the Memphis schedule, the Tigers also have two Futures events on the schedule, this weekend's tournament in Alabama and an Oct. 27th event in Pensacola, Florida. The Futures events give the Tigers a chance to compete against top level competition with two of the stronger college events on the schedule now behind them while still maintaining their amateur status.
The complete draws will be posted on the ITFTennis.com website HERE. If they make Live Scores available, they will be available HERE.