It’s tennis time again at Baylor.
The No. 22 Baylor men’s team and the Baylor women will both open up their seasons on Friday, at two different events in California.
Matt Knoll’s men will send eight players to the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The tournament kicks off Friday and runs through Monday.
“This is a great event with great competition,” Knoll said. “We are tired of playing ourselves and ready to play somebody else. We are motivated. Our guys have all the right ingredients. We just need to play a little bit and get them some more experience.”
Baylor’s Max Tchoutakian, a senior from France, will open the tournament as the No. 5 seed. Tchoutakian tallied a 19-10 record last year as a junior, and enters the year at No. 44 in the ITA rankings.
Other returning lettermen include redshirt sophomore Will Little (14-10 last year), 81st-ranked Jimmy Bendeck (24-13), former walk-on Tyler Stayer (4-12) and sophomore Juan Benitez of Colombia (5-2).
They’ll be joined by a couple of talented newcomers — freshmen Constantin Frantzen, a former junior national champion in Germany, and Bjoern Petersen, a powerful 6-foot-5 German.
The Baylor women went 18-15 last year and ended the season ranked 32nd nationally. They’ll open up their season at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., another Friday-through-Monday event.
“For any of our players at this stage of the season, it’s important to just get back into it,” Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano said. “I look for them to compete and sharpen their skills to get ready for the season that is ahead.”
The Bears are led by senior Blair Shankle, the seventh-ranked singles player in the country. A two-time all-Big 12 performer, Shankle went 10-2 in the fall and won the singles title at the Bush’s $50,000 Waco Showdown.
Also back is sophomore Elizabeth Profit, who teams with Shankle in doubles and recorded an 8-4 singles record in 2015-16. Senior Rhiann Newborn, who went 10-17 last year in her first season after transferring from Syracuse, and sophomore Karina Traxler of Rockwall will both compete this weekend at Rancho Mirage, along with freshman Angelina Shakhraichuk of the Ukraine.
Scrivano has two other newcomers at his disposal — Mexico’s Jessica Hinojosa, who fashioned a 6-2 fall record, and Great Britain’s Jazzi Plews.