Pick a court: turf, concrete, indoor, or outdoor. The TCU men’s tennis team is burning it up. This Friday the Horned Frog men will try to dominate their home court as they start their journey toward an NCAA team tournament championship.
Having already clinched the regular-season Big 12 title for the second consecutive year, TCU men’s tennis headed into the conference tournament final on April 29 versus Texas Tech and blanked the Red Raiders. The Frogs won in only 95 minutes. Saturday’s victory over Tech made for a 14th straight win since falling to No. 1-ranked Wake Forest in early March. The Frogs finished their season 19-4.
Without a doubt, the standout player for TCU is Cameron Norrie, who finishes the season as the No. 1-ranked singles player in the country. Norrie, of Auckland, New Zealand, has remained dominant since his arrival on campus in 2015, now only the second player in collegiate tennis to ever receive All-American honors in his freshman season, and the Kiwi was also honored with his second straight Most Outstanding Player award from the Big 12 after winning all four of his matches over the Sooners and the Raiders throughout the tournament. This will be the last season for TCU to take advantage of Norrie’s dominance. The junior has announced he will begin his journey on the professional tour after the conclusion of this season.
TCU tennis is no stranger to success. Head Coach David Roditi has led the men’s team for the past seven seasons and has achieved cult followings on social media for his match recaps and interviews donning his signature cowboy hat. He graduated from TCU in 1996 and still has more combined wins than any player in program history. TCU was ranked as a Top 50 program when Roditi was hired in 2010. In 2015 they finished the season ranked No. 4 in the nation, and last year they finished at No. 3. Despite the absence of a national title, TCU will likely repeat for their fourth straight ITA Attendance Race Award. The exceptional facilities, promotional events, superior play, and free food giveaways have made TCU the record holder for attendance at men’s matches since 2013.
Collegiate team tennis might be unfamiliar to casual tennis fans. School matches are known as dual matches. Nine total matches are slated: three doubles matches and six singles matches. The first school to win two of the doubles matches is awarded one overall point. The doubles matches are played in a single-set format. If a school wins both doubles matches before the third match finishes, then the last doubles match is stopped.
Singles play begins after the doubles point is determined, and six matches are played simultaneously. The first player to win two sets wins the match. Each singles match has one team point available. Therefore, each match has seven possible available overall points, one for doubles, and six for singles. When a team reaches four points, the remaining matches are stopped. TCU shut out their opponents seven times, and on six other occasions, their opponents scored only one point.
The NCAA tournament rankings placed the Frogs as the sixth seed, so they will host Jackson State this Friday in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The winner of the match between TCU and Jackson State will face the winner of Arkansas and Florida this Saturday in Fort Worth.
TCU has advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA championship tournament four times in program history. This year, they seem poised to get there again or even break into the championship with the help of the nation’s top-ranked player and a coach with a lucky cowboy hat.