TEMPE, Ariz. – Collegiate tennis dual matches will be contested outside of the United States for the first time, as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and Tennis Australia announce that NCAA Division I men’s and women’s programs, USC and South Carolina, will travel to Australia to compete in exhibition and regular-season matches during the Australian Open 2019.
The scheduled matches at the Australian Open will also hold the distinction of being the inaugural contests to take place on location during one of the four professional Grand Slam events.
“The Intercollegiate Tennis Association is thrilled to work alongside Tennis Australia to provide a truly memorable and unique experience to two deserving programs in USC and South Carolina,” said ITA Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Russell. “Being able to take our dual match product on the road and to another country is special, and we also look forward to showcasing the dynamic talent on the four rosters to those in attendance at the Australian Open 2019. This is truly an instance where we collectively raise the profile of college tennis, and I can’t wait to be in Australia to witness these matches take place.”
Both USC and South Carolina will be sending its men’s and women’s tennis teams to take part in exhibition singles and doubles matches against Tennis Australia National Academy players and then will compete against one another in dual matches that will count towards both teams’ Oracle ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings and overall won-loss record for the 2019 season.
“We look forward to welcoming US College Tennis to the Australian Open,” said Tournament Director and former Illinois men’s tennis head coach (Illinois won the 2003 NCAA National Championship) Craig Tiley. “I have first-hand experience of the high quality of tennis played within the US College system, and we also promote this pathway to many of our promising Australian players – it’s a tremendous way to achieve a tertiary education while staying on track to pursue a career in professional tennis. We look forward to showcasing college tennis during week two of the Australian Open and I know the players will enjoy their first Grand Slam experience here in Melbourne.”
What The Coaches Are Saying
Alison Swain, USC Women’s Tennis Head Coach: “Our team is honored and thrilled to be selected to participate in the first college dual matches to ever be played at a Grand Slam event. The opportunity to travel to a foreign country and compete on one of the biggest athletic stages in the world is truly unique, and our team is preparing to represent college tennis with great sportsmanship, competitive spirit, and skill. For our players, this is a dream come true to experience a new culture, travel, and compete abroad. I am confident that their time in Australia will reach beyond the tennis court for our athletes and be one of their most impactful college experiences.”
Kevin Epley, South Carolina Women’s Tennis Head Coach: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the University of South Carolina and College tennis when we head out to Australia in January. College tennis is getting more and more traction around the world these days as some of our best players are competing and succeeding at the professional level. It will be an awesome experience for all the teams to showcase our sport at a world-class venue in another country. We will certainly work as hard as we can to prepare and look forward to some good Melbourne summer fun, watching the Australian Open and competing against both USC and the Australian national team. We really couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off our 2019 campaign.”
Peter Smith, USC Men’s Tennis Head Coach: “We are incredibly excited to go to the Australian Open and take part in a Grand Slam tournament. To be one of the first college teams to do this is an honor. It will likely be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most everyone on the team, and we will start the season in a very special way.”
Josh Goffi, South Carolina Men’s Tennis Head Coach: “We are honored and thankful that the ITA has chosen our men’s and women’s program to represent college tennis at such a prestigious event. All of our student-athletes have grown up watching all of the grand slams and have dreamed of playing in them. To be able to play in Melbourne Park during the Australian Open is a dream come true for everyone involved. Our guys are still in disbelief but are counting down the days until we leave!”
About the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees women’s and men’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.