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Scholtz Joins Elite Group

The Ole Miss tennis program continues it's rich tradition under head coach Billy Chadwick of producing the best player in the country's toughest conference.  Today, the SEC office announced junior and two-time All-American Nik Scholtz as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.  Scholtz becomes the fourth player for Ole Miss to earn the prestigious award and the first player in Ole Miss tennis history to be named SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Player of the Year in his career.

Following an exceptional regular season, Scholtz continued his dominant play in the SEC Tournament going 2-0, and rising to No.9 in the national rankings as the highest ranked player in the SEC.  Scholtz boasted a 15-1 record at No. 1 singles, including 8-1 in the SEC.  The SEC currently has seven teams ranked inside the top 25 in the ITA National Rankings.

The South African native 12-time ATP Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi and three-time All-Americans Johan Hede and Catalin Gard as Rebels to be named SEC Player of the Year.  
Below is a quick look at all the Rebels' SEC Players of the Year.

SEC PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Thumbnail image for Scholtz_SECPOY.jpg2014 - Nik Scholtz
Singles Record:
8-1 SEC
Highest Singles Ranking: No. 9

Notes: Scholtz became the first player in Ole Miss tennis history to earn SEC Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors in his career.  With the Rebels awaiting their postseason destination, Scholtz has positioned himself nicely for a run at the NCAA Singles Championship. Scholtz led the Rebels to some huge conference wins down the stretch to secure the Rebels a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season. 

gard_catalin041004_blog.jpg2004 - Catalin Gard
Singles Record:
10-1 SEC
Highest Singles Ranking: No.1 (24 straight weeks)

Notes: Gard led the Rebels to the overall SEC Championship and their third straight SEC West title in 2004.  A three-time All-American, he was also the 2004 ITA All-American Champion and ended his career as the second winningest player in Ole Miss history with 112 wins.

1996 - Johan Hede
Singles Record:
11-0 SEC
Highest Ranking: No. 4Clincher_1995_blog.jpg

Notes: Finishing the season as the SEC's highest ranked player, Hede won the 1996 SEC Singles Championship and was a 1996 NCAA Singles semifinalist. He was also a three-time All-America selection as well as a three-time All-SEC selection, going undefeated in conference play in 1996.  Hede qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships all four years and stands as the all-time winningest player in Ole Miss tennis history with 135 wins.

Bhupathi_Mahesh95ncaa_blog.jpg1995 - Mahesh Bhupathi
Combined Singles and Doubles Record:
15-3 SEC
Highest Ranking: No.1 in doubles, No. 3 in singles

Notes: Bhupathi became the first Rebel to be named SEC Player of the Year.  He was the 1995 SEC Singles Champion and teamed with Ali Hamadeh to win the NCAA Doubles Championship, the school's first ever NCAA title.  Bhupathi also helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Championship Final and a final national ranking of No. 3.  Bhupathi has won 12 ATP Grand Slam titles in doubles.


Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 16

Chadwick_Bhupathi_USOPEN303.jpgFor moment No. 16 and our last moment in 1997, we recognize an individual accomplishment that not only impacted Ole Miss, but was felt all around the world.  A familiar name to the Ole Miss family, Mahesh Bhupathi took his game, his country, and his name to another planet in the tennis stratosphere.

In 1997, two years removed from the National Championship in doubles and leading the Rebels to the National Championship match, Bhupathi became the first player in Ole Miss tennis history to win a Grand Slam tournament.  Additionally, the 23 year-old Bhupathi also became the first Indian to ever win a Grand Slam title.  Bhupathi teamed with Japan native Rika Hiraki to win the French Open in mixed doubles.  Bhupathi and Hiraki defeated a pair of Americans, Patrick Galbraith and Lisa Raymond, 6-4, 6-1.

For those curious, Bhupathi and his French Open run was not what people like to call a "one hit wonder."  Bhupathi has since earned 12 total Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.  He has won multiple titles at every Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon).  Bhupathi's last Grand Slam win was in 2012 at the French Open.  He paired with Mumbai native Sania Mirza to beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez.

Bhupathi has earned over 6.5 million dollars in prize money, and at 39 years young, continues to be known as one of the best doubles players on the professional circuit, as evidenced by his prestigious awards and accomplishments.  In September of 2013, Bhupathi was ranked No. 10 in the world in doubles.  He has been ranked as high as No. 1 in April of 1999.  

On March 1, 2014, Bhupathi's professional tennis league, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), made a splash towards making a name for itself.  The world's No. 1, 2, 3 players signed up for participation in a league tournament.  This included Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.  Additionally, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka also participated in the tournament.  This is a true testament to the respect that Mahesh has from all of the top players in the world to be able to draw such a star-studded lineup.

Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer is also very impressed with what he has witnessed from Bhupathi.  "I have high respect for him," said Federer.  "He's been around for such a long time.  He has always been very nice and intense on the court, but very laid back off.  "He is one of the best guys in the world of all-time."  It is safe to say that Mahesh has represented Ole Miss and India in an overwhelming way.

Monday, we will break into the top 15 moments in Ole Miss tennis history moving to 1999.  Stay tuned to see how Coach Billy Chadwick and the Rebels take the next step as a tennis program.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.


Chadwick Top Moments: No. 25

Thumbnail image for Countdown_2.jpgFinishing this week, we are staying in 1995 for moment No. 25.  This year produced a lot of firsts for the Ole Miss tennis program, including this remarkable achievement from an incredible doubles duo. 

Mahesh Bhupathi and Ali Hamadeh became the first ever NCAA Champions in program history by winning the NCAA Doubles Championship.  The tandem defeated Texas' Chad Clark and Trey Phillips 7-6, 6-2 in the televised championship match.

Bhupathi and Hamadeh took down three nationally ranked teams, including No. 2 seed Paul Goldstein and Scott Humphries of Stanford to reach the final.  For winning the doubles championship, Bhupathi and Hamadeh were rewarded with a wildcard into the 1995 U.S. Open Championships.  They made their presence known as they took down veteran pros Mark Kyle and Peter Nyborg to advance to the second round, before falling to the No. 6 ranked doubles team in the world.

Subsequent to the Rebels winning the doubles championship, Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick said, "This is a great way to cap off a tremendous NCAA Tournament and truly makes this one of the outstanding accomplishments in Ole Miss sports.  I am extremely proud of the team and their commitment all year.  These players worked hard from day one."

Monday we will finish off 1995 and proceed chronologically to the following year.  There are plenty more "firsts" and exciting moments in store as the years progress for coach Chadwick.  Stay tuned.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.


Chadwick Top Moments: No. 26

Clincher_1995.jpgComing in at No. 26 is the second of four moments to occur in the historic year of 1995.  Arguably the greatest moment on the list, the Rebels ended a record-setting season in the granddaddy of them all as it relates to college tennis.  

Coach Billy Chadwick led his team to the NCAA Team Championship Final as the Rebels defeated No. 2 ranked Georgia in front of 5,000 screaming Bulldog fans watching at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.  

Johan Hede delivered the knockout blow and silenced the crowd with a thrilling come-from-behind victory against Georgia's Eddie Jacques.  After losing the first set 6-4, Hede rallied to win the final two sets 6-4, 7-5 to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Rebels.  Hede, then just a sophomore, faced several break points in the last set, but each time he held.  Jacques visibly cramping, could barely move in the last game, and Hede took advantage, painting a forehand winner on match point as his Rebel teammates mobbed him on the court.

"This victory is a tribute to the hard work of this team, said Chadwick, moments after one of the biggest wins in his career. "It took a great effort to defeat Georgia on their home court.  I am proud of our players for their outstanding performance."

Before Hede could be the hero, the Rebels had to rally after dropping the doubles point for the second day in a row. Mahesh Bhupathi, the SEC Player of the Year, won in straight sets at No. 1 singles and then Ali Hamadeh won his match at No. 3 singles to make it 2-1 Rebels.  After Georgia claimed consecutive matches at four and five singles, senior Van vanLingen finished off a comeback win at No. 6 singles, winning 6-4 in the third to even the match at 3-3.

During this prolific run, the Rebels knocked out No. 11 and two-time defending champion Southern California 4-3, and perennial power No. 3 Pepperdine 4-2.  The Rebels would fall to No. 1 Stanford in the Championship match, giving the Cardinals a perfect 27-0 record. 

1995finalteam.jpgAs we are only halfway through our moments from the exciting year of 1995, stay tuned for our next history-making moment.  Here's a clue: it involves the 1995 SEC Player of the Year.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance by Ole Miss Media Relations student Wesley Boock.

Chadwick Top Moments: No. 27

Thumbnail image for Bhupathi_Mahesh_SECChampion.jpgTo begin this week, we will continue a similar path that we ended on last week.  For the No. 27 moment under Billy Chadwick, Ole Miss celebrated another inaugural individual milestone.

As we mentioned last week, Mahesh Bhupathi rose onto the tennis scene during his freshman year (1994) with the Rebels.  The following year in 1995, Bhupathi did something that no other tennis player had ever done in Ole Miss tennis history.  Following a combined 15-3 record in league play in singles and doubles, Bhupathi was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

That year, Bhupathi was the SEC Indoor Singles Champion and finished the season as the No. 3 ranked singles and No. 1 doubles player in the country.  

"Mahesh's record speaks for itself, but to me, what separates him from the rest is his match play combined with his outstanding sportsmanship," said Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick upon the recognition.

The 1995 season will go down as not only one of the best in tennis, but one of the best years in any single sport in Ole Miss history, which is why we decided to break down the year in several moments.  We have plenty more exciting, groundbreaking moments from this year on the way. Stay tuned.


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.


    
 


294947_483127725086509_1913133589_n.jpg
With their straight set win Saturday, the duo of Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 3 in the nation, advance to the NCAA Final Four Sunday. They are 20-6 on the year with four wins against top-10 teams.

Sunday's semifinals against the Texas duo of Chris Camillone and David Holiner will feature live scoring, and if the match is played outdoors, live video. The match will start not before 3 p.m., and to access live scoring and video, go to OleMissSports.com and click on the link in the calendar.

This marks the second year in a row and seventh time overall for Ole Miss to have a doubles team in the NCAA Final Four. Scholtz and Lutjen are the fourth team in the last six years, with twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann the most recent, who reached the semifinals last year.

Mahesh Bhupathi, a 12-time Grand Slam Champion in doubles and mixed doubles including the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, combined with Ali Hamedeh to win the NCAA Doubles title in 1995, the first NCAA doubles title in program history. 

Ole Miss Men's Tennis In NCAA Doubles Final Four:

1995
Mahesh Bhupathi and Ali Hamadeh win the doubles title. They ended the year ranked No. 3 in the nation and earned a wildcard into the US Open. Teammates Johan Landsberg and Remi Feneon also reached the semifinals. Landsberg went on to play professional tennis on the ATP Tour and was ranked top 50 in the world in doubles.

2000
James Shortall and Vikrant Chadha lost in three sets in the semifinals and ended the year ranked No. 12 in the nation.

2008
Erling Tvelt and Jonas Berg reached the final and lost 7-6(10), 7-6(6). They ended the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. Matthias Wellermann and Bram ten Berge also reached the semifinals and had match point in the third set tiebreaker before losing 12-10. A win would have guaranteed the Rebels their second NCAA doubles title in program history. The following year, Berg combined with Bram ten Berge, and they won the ITA All-American Championship and ascended to No. 1 in the nation. 

2012
After two previous first-round exits, twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann advanced to the Final Four as an unseeded team and ended the year ranked No. 11 in the nation.











London Calling Bhupathi

Rebel netter alum Mahesh Bhupathi punched his ticket to the ATP World Tour Finals in doubles with his partner Rohan Bopanna.  The pair clinched the eighth and final spot in the season-ending event, which kicks off next week in London.

On Friday, the fifth seeded Indian duo scored a 6-7, 6-3, 10-4 win over 4th seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Paris. The Polish pair were also in contention for the final spot in London and the winner of Friday's quarterfinal was going to clinch the final spot.

Bhupathi and Bopanna have won 2 ATP titles this season.



Grand Slam Birthday


Bhupathi_Mirza_2012FO.jpgFormer Ole Miss NCAA Champion Mahesh Bhupathi celebrated his 38th birthday in style Thursday, capturing the French Open Mixed Doubles title with compatriot Sania Mirza.  Bhupathi hoisted his 12th Grand Slam trophy including eighth mixed doubles.

Bhupathi and Mirza defeated the Mexican-Polish pair of Santiago Gonzalez and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik in straight sets (7-6, 6-1).



Afterwards, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to the champion.  Bhupathi was elated to win his first Grand Slam as a father. "This is my first Grand Slam title after I became a father, my 4-month old daughter will be watching this and this is for her."

The win marked the second grand slam title for the Indian duo, as they also captured the 2009 Australian Open title. 

While at Ole Miss, Bhupathi led the Rebels to the NCAA team finals.  He became the first Rebel tennis player to win an NCAA title when he teamed with Ali Hamadeh to capture the Doubles Championship in 1995 and ended the year as the No. 1 doubles team in the nation. In addition, Bhupathi was an All-American, 1995 SEC Singles Champion and SEC Player of the Year.

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