By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – In their first outdoor match of the season, the No. 18 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team took care of business in a 6-1 win against Tulane here Saturday afternoon at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
With the win, head coach Billy Chadwick notched his 500th career victory as the Rebel men’s tennis coach. He recorded his 600th overall coaching win last year. Afterwards, he talked about the latest milestone in his career.
“It’s been a great run. I think I remember everyone of those 500 wins,” said Chadwick laughing. “But the one I remember the most is this one, the most recent one. I was pleased with the guys. It was a great effort in doubles and a great effort in our first sets. I have to give credit to Tulane. Tthey did pick it up in the second sets, but we responded.”
Blue skies and warm temperatures made for a nice first outdoor match, with a little more than 400 fans taking in the action.
The Rebels got on the board first by sweeping the doubles. The twins, Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann cruised to an 8-3 win at No. 1 and then Kalle Norberg and Tucker Vorster won 8-5 at No. 2 to clinch the point.
Marcel sat out in singles, and everybody moved up a spot. The crowd got a little scare when Vorster, leading his match 4-1, went down with a back spasm. He tried to continue, but lost the next two games before retiring to Tulane’s Idan Mark.
“Tucker had a back spasm. The trainer feels like he’s going to get through it pretty quick. He’s had this at some different times in his life, so we’re not that alarmed with it,” Chadwick said. “We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow, but he’s already feeling better.”
His teammates picked up the slack. Sophomore Adrian Forberg Skogeng dominated Rodrigo Rappaccioli 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 to put the Rebels back on top for good.
Norberg, playing his first outdoor match since 2009, downed Radu Ionescu 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 to make it 3-1, and then Jonas Lutjen sealed the win with a nice comeback in the second set at No. 3. Lutjen took the first set 6-3 against Tulane’s Joe Young, but quickly found himself down 4-1 in the second. He rallied to win it 7-5.
“I just tried to stick to my game plan and tried to get a little more energy,” said Lutjen on the second set comeback. Overall, I think we did a good job with our first outdoor match. Everyone played well. We’ve had a good two weeks of practice, and we’ll be ready for Tuesday. We know that Memphis has a pretty good team this year, so we’ll be expecting another tough match. Home matches are amazing. The crowd today was great, the weather was great. I hope it’s like this the rest of the season.”
Johan Backstrom and Chris Thiemann won their matches in three sets to complete the scoring.
“It was our first match outside, the first match for Johan and really the first outdoor match that Kalle has played in over a year,” Chadwick said. “It was exactly what we needed. We were pushed. We played well. Tulane did a good job of fighting and actually got back into the match. This will help us, because we’re going to get challenged in every match from this point forward.”
The Rebels will host Memphis Tuesday, March 1 at 2 p.m. before Southeastern Conference play begins next weekend with home matches against Kentucky and Vanderbilt.