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Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 4

Britton_Devin052509q_GC.jpgIn 2009, history was made at Ole Miss and in the NCAA.  Not by a seasoned veteran or a fourth-year senior.  History was made by an 18-year-old true freshman - he beat those more experienced players and seniors.  And at the end of the day, checking in at moment No. 4, Ole Miss' freshman phenom Devin Britton was the last man standing.

In 2009, Britton became the first player in Ole Miss history to win the NCAA Singles Championship.  Not only did Britton set Ole Miss records, he set new national records in doing so.  Britton, who became the first American-born player in the past nine years to win the singles title, became the youngest player in NCAA history to win the singles championship.  Britton became only the third freshman to ever win the national title, and surpassed a 19-year-old John McEnroe of Stanford to become the youngest ever.  Britton defeated three seeded players throughout his national title run, including ending Ohio State senior Steven Moneke's 22-match win streak in the championship match.

Britton would receive a wildcard spot in the U.S. Open where he faced a player named Roger Federer in the opening round.  Not to be intimidated, Britton would break the No. 1 seed twice despite losing in straight sets (as did most players at that time).  Britton created a lot of buzz, but has since returned to Ole Miss to finish his degree and is assisting his former coach Billy Chadwick with the Rebel netters.

Next up, we'll recognize a prestigious award by a Rebel player for not only his play on the court, but also for his excellence in the classroom.  Stay tuned to check out the winner of the highest award for a student-athlete in the SEC.

Follow Ole Miss men's tennis on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook, OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relation student Wesley Boock.

Ole Miss At America's Major

The final tennis Grand Slam of the year, the U.S. Open, begins today at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.   For fun, let's take a look at the Rebels' history in America's major.

MAHESH BHUPATHI
Bhupathi_Chadwick_Hamadeh_USOPEN304.jpg
Twelve-time grand slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi marks his 17th U.S. Open appearance this year.  He be in doubles later this week as well as mixed doubles.   Bhupathi, who became the first NCAA Champion in men's tennis history at Ole Miss when he captured the 1995 title, has won two titles at the U.S. Open.  In 2002, he teamed with Max Mirnyi to win the doubles title and then in 2005, he won the mixed doubles crown with Daniela Hantuchova.  Above, Bhupathi is pictured with '95 partner Ali Hamadeh and Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick.  The duo received a wild card into the '95 U.S. Open and advanced to the second round.

DEVIN BRI
Britton_Federer09USOPEN.jpgTTON
In 2009, Mississippi native Devin Britton became the youngest ever NCAA Singles Champion and the first Rebel to win the singles crown.  Just a year removed from reaching the finals of the U.S. Open Junior Championships, Britton received a wildcard into the U.S. Open main draw where he matched up against 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, in the first round.  Britton also competed in mixed doubles that year.

SEBASTIEN DeCHAUNAC
Two-time All-American Sebastien DeChaunac competed in the U.S. Open singles main draw in 2001, where he lost to former world No. 1, Marat Safin, in three sets.

ALI HAMADEH
Ali Hamadeh teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi to win the 1995 NCAA Doubles Championship and later that summer the pair took to the big stage of the U.S. Open, where they advanced to the second round.

JOHAN LANDSBERG
A fiery Swede who advanced to the NCAA Doubles semifinals in 1995, Johan Landsberg played in four U.S. Opens in doubles, reaching the round of 16 in 2002.

DAVE RANDALL

The Rebels' first All-American (1988), Dave Randall reached the quarterfinals in doubles at the 1993 U.S. Open.


    
 


Britton On The Rise

Toby_Devin.JPGAs a freshman in college, Devin Britton took the nation by storm becoming the youngest NCAA Singles Champion in men's tennis history and just the third freshman ever to win the event.  One of the other two in that select company is seven-time grand slam singles champion John McEnroe.  

If you take a look at the top 100 on the ATP Tour, probably less than a handful played collegiate tennis.   John Isner, who achieved a career-high No. 9 in the world and played four years at Georgia, is a rare exception to the rule.  

 Britton's goal is to get to that same stage one day.   Since turning pro in the summer of 2009, he has played on the Futures and Challengers Circuit. This past year the results started to show the hard work and improvement that Britton has made in his game.

Playing in 24 tournaments in 2012, Britton achieved a career-high ranking of No. 129 in doubles and No. 404 in singles including 12 titles, 11 in doubles.  

"I feel good about the progress I have made this year. I feel like the hard work is definitely starting to pay off," Britton said.  "There is a lot of work left to be done though. I still have a lot of room for improvement. I look forward to keeping the numbers moving in the right direction in 2013."

To see how far Britton has come, you have to know where he started.  Unlike his professional counterparts in other team sports, Britton didn't get to walk in on a Super Bowl contending team and experience a high level of success right away.   He started his pro career ranked somewhere over a 1,000 in both singles and doubles.   That's a long way away from the current No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic.  

Steadily improving since making his debut at the 2009 U.S. Open against the greatest player ever (Roger Federer), Britton began the 2012 season No. 741 in singles and No. 358 in doubles before his year-end rise.

"I think I have definitely matured a lot since I first hit the tour," he said.  "It is easy to let the losses get to you out here. I think it takes time to learn how to handle the ups and downs of the tour. I have definitely gotten stronger physically and mentally along the way as well."

Britton has visited Ole Miss many times since he left, including attending this past Saturday's "Egg Bowl" win over arch-rival Mississippi State.  His former coaches and teammates still keep up with him and are not surprised by his results.

"We always believed that it was just a matter of time before Devin was going to make a jump," said Rebel associate head coach Toby Hansson.  "We are really excited for him and look forward to following his continued progress in 2013."

Britton's most recent title came at the JMS Challenger in Champaign, Ill., two weeks ago, where he teamed up with fellow NCAA Champion Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M) for their fifth title of the year.

"Austin and I grew up playing together at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.  I have known him forever, and we know each other's games very well," Britton said.  "We complement each other well on the doubles court. He is also left-handed, which is a bonus.

"He won the NCAA doubles title for Texas A&M in 2011, so the only downside is having to see his maroon attire all the time," Britton continued, laughing.  "I'm only kidding, but yes we will continue to play together next year. I am hoping we will get our rankings up enough to get into the French Open and Wimbledon next year."

There is limited time for Britton to reflect on this past season's accomplishments, because 2013 is right around the corner.

"The next step is to continue to improve.  I have to bust it in December to get ready for a big 2013," he said.


Britton Nets No. 10

It's been a solid year for 2009 NCAA Singles Champion Devin Britton, who last week picked up his 10th doubles title of 2012.  The Brandon, Miss., native teamed up with former Aggie Austin Krajicek to capture the Futures title in Austin, Texas this past weekend. 

A week after the pair reached the finals of the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger, Britton and Krajicek defeated Carsten Ball and former Ohio State Buckeye Chase Buchanan 6-4, 7-5 two win the title.  Britton is ranked No. 148 in this week's ATP Doubles Rankings.

This week, Britton heads to Mansfield, Texas for another Futures event.  Aside from playing singles and doubles each week on the Futures and Challenger tours, Britton has found time to blog about life as a professional tennis player and his travels.  Check it out here.  

Britton The Team Player

Most people think of professional tennis as an individual sport.  There is Davis Cup, which pits one country versus another in a team atmosphere and then there is World Team Tennis.  It features some of the biggest names in the world playing together in an innovative co-ed team format that offers exciting opportunities for players, fans, communities and sponsors.

Former Rebel Devin Britton is experiencing WTT for the first time this year as a member of the Springfield Lasers, one of eight teams in the pro league.  The Springfield Lasers are one of four teams in the Western Conference. 

Unlike most tennis professionals, Britton has some experience playing on a team.  In 2009, he was a member of the Ole Miss men's tennis team, helping lead the Rebels to an SEC Championship as well as the NCAA Elite Eight. 

Last night, the Mississippi native helped lead the Lasers to a win against the Kansas City Explorers, sending numerous fans home with souvenir tennis balls.  Here is a recap from the Springfield News-Leader

Britton Wins 1st Pro Title

They say there's a first time for everything.   Three years of hard work finally paid off for former Rebel men's tennis standout Devin Britton who captured his first pro title, the $15,000 Sacramento Futures, on Sunday.  In a battle of former NCAA Champions, Britton saved two match points to defeat Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M) 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.

Britton had won eight doubles titles, but was still searching for that elusive singles title until Sunday's triumph.  Click here to read an account of the match, including Britton's comments, from veteran journalist Paul Bauman

You'll note in the picture with the story that Britton, the youngest ever NCAA Singles Champion, is wearing an Ole Miss cap.  Once a Rebel, always a Rebel!


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