Longhorns to kick off season at Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational

Wills Layton

After a four-month offseason, the Longhorns will kick off their season on Friday as they head to Midland, Texas, for the annual Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its men’s singles ranking Tuesday, and Texas found itself as the only school with at least three
athletes ranking among the top-30 singles players in the nation.

One of those players is sophomore Christian Sigsgaard, who was named the Big XII’s freshman of the year in 2017. He enters the season ranked No. 15 in the nation. Following Sigsgaard are juniors Harrison Scott and Yuya Ito, who rank No. 22 and No. 26 respectively.

“We were really young last year, but our guys are a year older and a year stronger now,” head coach Michael Center said. “The rankings indicate we have some very good players on this team, but we’ll see where we are in April and May. That’s when we really want to peak as a team.”

At last year’s Invitational, then-sophomore Colin Markes won the singles title, while the doubles team of then-sophomores Rodrigo Banzer and Leonardo Telles lost in the finals match to a team from Rice.

“It’s the first tournament of the year and a great way to get the season started,” Center said. “The plan is to play hard and get plenty of matches under our belts. We’ve been fortunate to have some of our guys win this tournament in the past. It’s a great venue, the community gets involved with the event, and we always look forward to going back.”

The Longhorns will have four athletes representing the 40 Acres in Midland this weekend. Of the four athletes — which include senior John Mee, reigning champion Markes and redshirt sophomore Johnny Goodwin — the biggest storyline to follow is the return of junior Adrian Ortiz, who missed last season due to an injury.

Ortiz, who was medically redshirted last year, was a key contributor on the 2015-2016 team, posting a singles record of 18–9. He will play doubles this weekend in his first court appearance for the Longhorns since 2016.

“It definitely means a lot to me to go get my competitive edge back and go play a tournament,” Ortiz said. “I feel like I’ve been out almost two years now. It’ll be great to get out there and play.”

After the Invitational, the Longhorns will travel to Malibu, California, for the Oracle ITA Masters on Sept. 21, and then to Lafayette, Louisiana, for the Cajun Tennis Classic on Sept. 22.