After a long-awaited fall debut, Ole Miss men’s tennis will play in Auburn, Ala., this weekend for the first fall season tournament at the Auburn Invite. This is one of three tournaments in which the Rebels will participate in this season, according to SEC guidelines.
It has been 206 days since Ole Miss tennis last took the court. Before their season ended abruptly in March because of COVID-19, the Rebels had suffered only their fourth loss of the season to then-ranked No. 19 University of Tennessee. The last match against the Volunteers resulted in a 4-3 loss with wins in doubles from partners Tim Sandkaulen and Finn Reynolds and Cotter Wilson and Nikola Slavic.
To add to the disappointment of the canceled season, the team ranked No. 11 in the country at the time, feeling like they were just beginning to develop a solid rhythm of playing together and continuing to rack-up wins. The team defeated four ranked opponents in their 2019 season, including previously ranked No. 12 Illinois, No. 20 Oklahoma State, No. 28 Princeton and No. 48 Alabama.
Headed into his 14th year as head coach, Toby Hansson has plenty of reason to be excited about his roster. The team is returning some solid experience and firepower with senior Sandkualen, junior Jan Soren Hain, new Oklahoma State transfer Brady Draheim and freshman John Hallquist Lithen.
However, there are still plenty of questions surrounding what exactly this season will look like for the Rebels. Players could not begin practicing together on a regular basis until the middle of September, and there will likely be adjustments throughout the fall regarding lineups and rotations.
The tournament will be all weekend, Oct. 2-4.