Caswell Tennis Center

After cruising to a 4–1 victory against No. 22 Texas Tech on Saturday, No. 9 Texas will square off against two unranked opponents this week, taking on UTSA on Tuesday and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday. 

Both matches will be home matches for the Longhorns, as Tuesday’s match will be at the Caswell Tennis Center, and Wednesday’s will be at the Westwood Country Club. 

The week’s matches will be Texas’ first back-to-back since the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The contracted schedule for the Longhorns is the result of a rainout against UTSA on March 2. 

The two matches will provide the Longhorns an opportunity to fine-tune certain aspects of their game, especially at the doubles positions. Texas has lost the doubles point in its previous two matches, with three losses from the doubles lines coming in tiebreakers.

Following this week’s matches, the Longhorns will have a week off before facing off against No. 2 Baylor on April 15 at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin. 

It will be the Longhorns’ fifth match this year against a top-10 opponent, and it will be the penultimate match of the season for Texas before the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship on April 24.

 I would like to offer a significantly different perspective from the recent Firing Lines by Bobby French and John Stephen Taylor, neither of whom I know.

My mother introduced me to tennis at Eastwoods Park just north of UT in 1945, when I was 9 years old. After 2 weeks she turned me over to Daniel Penick, the longtime UT tennis coach (over 50 years) on Saturday mornings. When Caswell Tennis Center opened a short time later, I spent my youth through my years at Austin High there almost every day. Then, in 1954, when I enrolled in Plan II at UT, I was on the freshman team. My senior year, 1958, I was captain. I got to play under Penick and my junior and senior years under Coach Wilmer Allison (only the second tennis coach in the school’s history). My junior year I got to play with Dave Snyder (a senior), who became the third coach for the next 29 years. The original courts where I played were on the north end of Memorial Stadium and were clay.

The tennis alumni had a meeting in October to discuss the situation with athletic director Steve Patterson. We were told that we, the alumni, needed to raise $15,000,000 before construction could begin. Meanwhile one of the best collegiate teams in the country must work out at the Intramural Fields, where there are no stands, no dressing rooms and no scoreboards. Contrary to the information given by Taylor, the new facility will not be built at the Intramural Fields, from what I have been told. One other point that needs to be addressed: Taylor asks, “Where has Coach [Michael] Center been?” I must point out that Center is not in a position to make a decision. He has more than enough to do to coach some of the finest young men that have ever represented the University of Texas tennis team.

They are students, gentlemen on the court and winners. I, and the alums, could not be prouder of the team and the coaches. Now I hope the University officials who have the power and the money to make the decisions will act with due speed to bring about a solution to this unjust and inexcusable situation.

— Laurence A. Becker, Ph.D., captain of the UT Tennis Team (1958), assistant coach (1962-1964), in response to Bobby French’s Tuesday Firing Line titled “Texas Tennis deserves proper home” and John Stephen Taylor’s Wednesday Firing Line titled “Texas Tennis fan got it right.”

Following a 10-day break from match play, No. 8 Texas men’s tennis will begin its outdoor season against unranked Michigan State on Thursday at the Caswell Tennis Center. Thursday’s match begins a three-match run against Big Ten opponents for the Longhorns. Texas will face off against No. 4 Illinois on Saturday and No. 10 Ohio State on Tuesday.  

Texas comes into Thursday’s contest riding a four-match win streak, with all four victories coming against teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the ITA rankings. 

Senior Søren Hess-Olesen has been a standout during the Longhorns’ winning streak, climbing to No. 2 in the nation in singles — 11 spots higher than his preseason ranking. Hess-Olesen is currently undefeated this season, holding a record of 12–0 and the No. 1 singles spot for the Longhorns. Texas seniors Lloyd Glasspool and Adrien Berkowicz are the only other Longhorns to join Hess-Olesen in the national rankings, at No. 52 and No. 60 spots, respectively.

With Michigan State reeling from losses in three of its last four matches, Texas will look to find another win in its first outdoor match of the year. If they can secure the win, the Longhorns will continue their momentum in their highly anticipated matches against Big Ten powerhouses Illinois and Ohio State.