TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 7 Texas A&M men’s tennis team is set to open up the 2018 season in Tempe, Ariz. as they take on Arizona State at the Whiteman Tennis Center at 2:00 p.m. (CT). The Aggies will look to win their third straight season opening match and second straight season-opener on the road.
Sunday’s match will be the Sun Devils second since the resumption of the program following a 10-year hiatus. Following the relocation of the ITA Tennis offices to Tempe the Sun Devils announced that the program would resume play beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, the Sun Devils and No. 25 Duke will face off Saturday. Texas A&M will look to even the all-time ledger between the two programs after dropping the lone matchup, 5-2 on Feb. 2, 1991. Sunday’s match will be streamed online at http://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university-2.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M men's tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M men's tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieMTEN or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AggieMensTennis.
Following the trip to the desert, the Aggies will return home to host the ITA Kick Off Weekend as LSU, Georgia State and Cal Poly come to College Station Jan. 27-28. The ITA Kick Off Weekend winner will qualify for the 2018 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle, Wash. taking place Feb. 16-18 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
THE MAROON & WHITE
- Texas A&M returns six lettermen from last year's squad that advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the ITA Rankings.
- Included in the group is senior Arthur Rinderknech, the Frenchman earned singles and doubles All-America honors for the second straight year, the first Aggie to accomplish that feat since Austin Krajicek did in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, Rinderkench looks to become the first Aggie to earn a trio of singles All-American honors.
- Also returning this season will be Jordi Arconada, AJ Catanzariti, Kevin Lam and Valentin Vacherot. Arconada (42), Catanzariti (46) and Rinderknech (45) comprise one of the most decorated senior classes in program history as all three are within striking distance of the top-25 for dual match singles victories (Brett Joelson, 2004-07, and Blake Arrant, 1993-1996, tie for 25th at 53 singles wins).
- Joining the experienced group of returnees are a quartet of talented freshman including the Nation’s No. 1 recruit in Patrick Kypson, international blue-chip recruit in Barnaby Smith, 2016 US Open Junior Doubles Champion in Juan Carlos Aguilar and 2017 USTA Texas Grand Slam winner Pranav Kumar.
2018 ORACLE/ITA DIVISION I MEN'S NATIONAL RANKINGS
- The Aggies are one of 18 schools with at least three players listed in the initial singles rankings of the spring. Leading the charge for the Aggies is No. 10 Valentin Vacherot followed by No. 41 Jordi Arconada and No. 53 AJ Catanzariti. In the doubles poll. Arconada and freshman Juan Carlos Aguilar begin the spring at No. 18, while Arconada is ranked No. 25 alongside junior Kevin Lam.
- The No. 10 ranking for Vacherot is a career-high after starting the fall at No. 93. Vacherot advanced to the consolation final at the ITA All-American Championship in Tulsa, Okla., including wins over three ranked foes, including a couple ranked players from No. 4 Georgia.
- Arconada broke into the polls four times as a freshman in 2016, reaching as high as No. 67 and was ranked in eight of the 12 rankings last spring with a high of No. 42 on April 18. Arconada has been among the ranked for 10 straight polls, with a career-high No. 41 ranking last fall.
- Catanzariti earned a ranking for the fourth time in his career, his No. 53 ranking this spring is the highest he has earned in his career.
- The No. 18 ranking for Arconada and Aguilar is a career-high for both, this is the first ranking for Aguilar in his collegiate career. Arconada reached as high as No. 29 as a freshman in 2016 alongside Max Lunkin.
- Lam’s ranking of No. 25 alongside Arconada is the first ranking of the junior’s career, the ranking came on the heels of an impressive ITA Regional showing at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center as they advanced to the finals.
- Arconada, Catanzariti and Rinderknech comprise one of the most accomplished senior classes in program history. The trio have been a part of 72 dual match victories, two SEC Championships, one SEC Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Championship Round of Eight.
- Arconada had one of the longest win streaks in program history a year ago, winning an unprecedented 18 straight matches. During the streak Arconada rose from unranked into the ITA top-50 after besting five ranked opponents. Arconada needs 11 dual wins to move into the Texas A&M career singles wins top-25.
- Catanzariti earned All-American honors a season ago in doubles alongside classmate Arthur Rinderknech. The Pittsburgh native has paced the Aggies in doubles wins twice in his three seasons in Aggieland (19 wins in 2015 and 13 wins in 2017). The right-hander needs seven singles wins to move into the career singles wins top-25.
- Rinderknech enters his final spring as one of the country’s best players, earning a career-best No. 4 ranking in the fall and being among the ranked singles players in 28 consecutive rankings over the past four seasons. The Paris, France native needs eight singles wins to move into the career singles wins top-25 and already stands at No. 24 on the career doubles victory list. Rinderknech looks to climb the doubles list this spring as he is only 14 wins from the top-10.
- Sophomore Valentin Vacherot turned in a memorable freshman campaign after matching Arconada for the team lead in singles victories a year ago. The Frenchman stormed through his first collegiate season, earning All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman team honors last spring.
- Vacherot backed up his first dual season with an impressive fall showing, earning a place in the 2017 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships after advancing to the 2017 ITA Men’s All-American Championship consolation final in Tulsa. The sophomore leads the Aggies with nine tournament wins this fall and earned a career-high No. 10 singles rankings entering the spring season.
- Vacherot and Rinderknech are first cousins from France, the duo featured alongside each other last spring five times on the doubles court, earning a pair of victories.
- Texas A&M’s 2018 signing class was one of the most decorated groups in program history. The Aggie class includes a wealth of international experience and a Texas state champion from a year ago. The class consists of Juan Carlos Aguilar, Patrick Kypson, Pranav Kumar and Barnaby Smith.
- Aguilar earned the 2016 US Open Doubles Championship, claiming five wins including a pair over seeded opponents en route to the prestigious tournament title. The doubles standout earned a career-high Junior ITF ranking of 23 in October of 2016 and featured for Bolivia in the Davis Cup last year.
- Kypson marked the first time in program history that the nation’s No. 1 recruit signed with Texas A&M. The elite junior reached as high as No. 672 in the ATP World Tour rankings and No. 18 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. The right-hander played in a trio of Junior Grand Slams last year, including advancing to the semifinals at Wimbledon.
- Smith, from High Wycombe, Great Britain, earned a career-high No. 62 World Junior ITF ranking and played in all four Junior Grand Slams last year, earning wins at Wimbledon, French Open and Australian Open.
- Kumar stormed through a loaded field to claim the 2017 USTA Texas Grand Slam Championship last June at the Eager Tennis Center on the campus of Abilene Christian University. The Plano. Texas native was ranked as high as the No. 3 prospect in the state of Texas by tennisrecruiting.net.
DENTON’S 12TH YEAR AT THE HELM
- The Aggies have won at least 20 matches in each of the last four seasons under head coach Steve Denton and six times in his 11-year tenure. Four times during the last decade, Texas A&M has hit the 25-win mark, winning 25 in 2010, 29 in 2011, 25 in 2014 and 27 in 2016.
- Texas A&M has had a doubles tandem earn All-America honors in each of the past five seasons. Catanzariti and Rinderknech earned a Top-8 seed in last year’s Doubles Championship to solidify their All-American status for 2017. Two years ago, Jackson Withrow and Rinderknech achieved the feat after advancing to the Doubles Championship finals.
- The Aggies have made 24-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, hosting the first and second round for the past five seasons.
- Texas A&M was ranked in Top-25 in 14 of the 15 rankings published last spring and 78 of the last 80 polls, dating back to Jan. 22, 2013. The Maroon & White enter the spring ranked No. 7, their highest ranking to open the spring season since earning a No. 5 ranking top open the 2016 season.
2018 SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
- The Aggies are set to take on one of the most challenging schedules in the country, with eight matches against top-25 teams on the docket in addition to a trio of tough matches at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships if they win the ITA Kick Off Weekend hosted at the Mitchell Tennis Center Jan. 27-28.
- The Aggies are one of five SEC teams ranked in the top-25, including No. 4 Georgia, No. 9 Florida, No. 14 Mississippi State and No. 20 South Carolina.
- The SEC currently lists 24 ranked singles players including six of the top-15 players in the country. Additionally, the league has 14 ranked doubles teams including seven of the top-20.