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2017 Tennis On Campus National Championship preview

2016 Auburn celebrate group

For 64 coed club tennis teams across America, the final journey to a championship starts now.

The 18th annual Tennis On Campus National Championship begins Thursday, April 13, at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. It marks the first time the championships have been held at the new Home of American Tennis, a 100-court center of excellence built on more than 64 acres of land and opened earlier this year.

Around 600 players representing schools from 14 USTA sections will attend Nationals with one goal in mind: ending the season with the most coveted club tennis silverware of all.

“The USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship is the premier recreational college tennis event in the country,” said Newlyn Wing, national coordinator of USTA Tennis On Campus. “Tennis On Campus provides student-athletes with the unique combination of team competition in a fun, social environment.The National Championship is the culmination of these players’ hard work and allows them to represent their universities on a national stage.”

Tennis On Campus includes more than 42,000 participants at more than 700 colleges and universities across America, but only 64 squads can compete for the title in Orlando.

Among the notable teams in action are returning National Champions Auburn University, 2016 Tennis On Campus Spring Invitational winners University of California – San Diego, and 2016 Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational champions University of Florida. There are also seven first-times competing t Nationals.

They will be joined by the following sectional winners: Cornell University (Eastern), University of Central Florida (Florida), University of Colorado (Intermountain), University of Virginia (Mid-Atlantic), University of Pennsylvania (Middle States), University of Michigan (Midwest), Washington University (Missouri Valley), Harvard University (New England), University of Minnesota (Northern), University of California – Berkeley (Northern California), University of Washington (Pacific Northwest), Georgia Tech (Southern), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Southern California), University of Arizona (Southwest) and The University of Texas at Austin (Texas).

“Tennis On Campus is one of the USTA’s most popular and successful initiatives, providing thousands of players who do not participate in varsity programs with the chance to stay involved in our great sport through a fun, competitive and social format, USTA Chairman, CEO and President Katrina Adams said. “Each year, the Tennis On Campus program continues to expand and grow and enhance the lives of those involved in. It’s a great success story and its chapters continue to be written by those who participate.”

In all, there are nine teams from the Southern section, eight schools from the two California sections, seven representing the Midwest section and six from each of the Texas and New England sections. The Southwest and Northern sections are each represented by two teams.

The 64 teams are divided into four pools of 16 teams. Each team will play the other three teams in their pool once, with each contest consisting of a men’s and women’s singles match, a men’s and women’s doubles match and a mixed doubles match. The matches are played according to World Team Tennis rules to one set and the combined games won by the entire team determines the overall winner.

Once all three pool matches are played, teams are ranked first to fourth and placed into a gold, silver, bronze or copper compass bracket according to their pool finish. Winners from each of these bracket matches advance in their respective bracket, while the losers compete in the back draw. Only a team that wins its pool is eligible to advance to the gold bracket and compete for the National Championship.

Of the 16 four-team pools, Pools G, K, N and O stand out as posing a difficult road to a championship. Pool G features Texas and Minnesota, who each won their respective sections; Pool K includes Middle States champions Pennsylvania as well as defending National Champions Auburn; Pool N is headlined by Missouri Valley section winners Washington and Fall Invitational winners Florida; and Pool O includes Eastern winners Cornell and Spring Invitational winners UC San Diego. 

Two pools, Pools E and F, feature neither a sectional winner nor invitational champion, affording those eight teams the chance of a surprise deep run.

In the 17-year history of Tennis On Campus National Championships, there have been nine different champions. UC Berkeley has won four of the past seven titles, while Texas A&M University – College Station claimed four consecutive crowns from 2004-07. The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill team won the first two National Championships in 2001 and 2001 but were denied of a third trophy last spring by first-time champions Auburn.