After graduating two seniors that composed one of the top doubles teams in the nation and losing the NCAA Individual National Champion to the pros, Billy Chadwick kicks off the meat of the 2010 season with half a team of freshman and three of eight that only set foot in Oxford this month. If this weren't Ole Miss Men's Tennis we were talking about, this would be - unquestionably - a rebuilding year.
And, yet, 2009, a year began with three freshmen and without Erling Tveit and Matthias Wellerman, was also supposed to be a rebuilding year. I wouldn't count out a Billy Chadwick team composed primarily of children of the Depression and untalented primates.
Check out the pre-season storylines after the jump.
What the hell happened to Tucker Vorster?
The Cup and its friends are big fans of Vorster. He is intense on and off the court, vocally defending and cheering his teammates when he is not in a match. The past two years, his teammates ribbed him in good nature by calling him the team cheerleader. Surprise, surprise, he took the role pretty seriously. But, last year, he had a lot of time to cheerlead, as he didn't play a conference singles match all season.
Somehow, though, Tucker has turned it on. This weekend he'll be the highest-ranked Ole Miss player at Indoors, seeded #7 overall. He made the semifinals at the ITA Southern Regional and is ranked as the #40 individual player in the country.
Going undefeated in the SEC two years in a row would be a tall order for any team, but Vorster's development into, perhaps, a #1 player for the Rebels is a welcome sign that the netters can maintain their high level of success.
So tough, Kalle Norberg
You may have seen the Ole Miss Sports feature on Norberg late last year. Our only senior went through last year undefeated in league play at #3 singles. But he didn't do that winning every set. He did it with quickness on the court and mental toughness.
Norberg will not be playing this weekend, and the Cup does not have any solid information on why. Perhaps the purpose is to getting some playing time for the freshmen early in the season. However, Norberg will definitely be in the lineup for conference play, maybe at the #2 spot.
All four freshmen will see action this weekend. Adrian Forberg Skogeng, the only fall enrollee, along with Harry Fowler, former classmate and roommate of Devin Britton at Nick Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Jonas Lütjen, former German Juniors Champion, and Jaime Vazquez Catoira, 2008 Spanish Junior Doubles Champion, will be showing Rebel fans what we have to look forward to.