Coachella Valley tennis enthusiasts have an opportunity to see future stars of the sport when the National Collegiate Tennis Classic hits the courts Jan. 17-20 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.
The 34th annual tournament features some of the top college teams and individual players in the country as determined by the 2012 Final and 2013 pre-season Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings in singles and doubles.
Four top 10 women’s teams are expected to be in the field, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Southern Cal, No. 5 Stanford and No. 8 North Carolina. On the men’s side, five top 10 team entries are led by No. 1 Southern Cal, No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Pepperdine and No. 7 Kentucky.
Stanford freshman Krista Hardebeck, ranked No. 2 in the nation in Division I women’s play, heads the women’s singles field. A product of Santa Ana, Calif., Hardebeck lost a second-round match to the nation’s No. 1 player, Florida’s Sofie Oyen, at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in November in Flushing, NY.
Mississippi’s Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 5 in the nation in Division 1, is the top-ranked player in the men's singles field. The senior earned All-American honors last year and helped the Rebels reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. He is originally from Schessel, Germany. Lutjen scored an impressive win over No. 2 seed Peter Kobelt of Ohio State at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in November in Flushing, NY. Kobelt is currently the No. 1 ranked player in the nation.
Matches begin at 8 a.m. on Jan. 18-19, and 9 a.m. Jan. 19. The singles final begins at noon Jan. 19.