NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Another tennis season is set to begin this weekend as the Vanderbilt men's tennis team heads to Athens, Ga., for the Southern Collegiates Sept. 7-10.
This marks the 45th time the Southern Collegiates will be held, as it is the oldest fall college tennis tournament in the nation.
Play begins Friday and will run through Monday, with as many as three singles divisions and two doubles divisions and a champion to be named in each. There will also be at least two rounds of singles consolation matches.
Head Coach Ian Duvenhage has a young squad this season as no seniors are on the roster for 2012-13. Duvenhage is in his eighth season as the head coach for the Commodores and will look to lead his team back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season.
"All our returnees played tournaments this summer, but they also took some time off before school started and this first tournament will tell us just where they are in terms of their fitness and match toughness," Duvenhage said. "With the freshmen we are just getting to know their games so we can design a plan for their future development."
Vanderbilt welcomes back redshirt junior Ryan Lipman after missing all of last season with an injury. Lipman led the team with 24 wins as a sophomore and was going to be one of the top players in the SEC last season.
"Ryan (Lipman) has proven himself to be one of the best players in the nation," said Duvenhage about Lipman's return to action in 2012-13. "In spite of the fact that I don't expect him to be completely match tough yet, his impact will be immense."
Joining the Commodores this season are two newcomers in freshmen Rhys Johnson and Kris Yee. The bulk of the roster is made up of sophomores as Vandy returns five of them, led by Gonzales Austin who was a 2012 Second Team All-SEC and All-Freshmen Team member.
The 2012 Southern Collegiates features participants from 23 schools: Armstrong Atlantic, The Citadel, Clemson, East Tennessee State, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, Georgia, Georgia College, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Liberty, Lipscomb, Mercer, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Florida, Presbyterian, UT Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech.
Following the Southern Collegiates, Vanderbilt will travel to Tulsa, Okla., for the ITA All-American Sept. 29-Oct.7.