By Erwin Ong
Baylor’s Tony Lupieri takes on Mads Engsted of Cal. Photo by Baylor Men’s Tennis
College tennis gets a bit of airtime at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden when the site hosts the inaugural Oracle Tennis Challenge on Championship Weekend.
“We are committed to providing support for both professional and collegiate tennis,” said Larry Ellison, owner of the BNP Paribas Open. “There is no venue in the world better equipped to host this first-time collegiate event than the newly expanded Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.”
Four men’s collegiate programs – Cal, Illinois, Tulsa, and Baylor – are entered in the event. The matches will count toward the official collegiate team records for the 2014 season.
Cal doubles player Chase Melton cheered on his teammates playing singles against Baylor on Saturday afternoon.
“The venue is amazing,” said Melton. “They’ve been treating us well. Certainly more fan. Nice weather. It’s amazing. Couldn’t be happier.”
One of this year’s men’s semifinalists in the BNP Paribas Open main draw, John Isner, played for the University of Georgia before turning pro. He spoke with The Desert Sun about the college experience and the Oracle Tennis Challenge:
“I think that’s cool,” Isner said “Getting them a little bit immersed in a situation like this is only good for them. Maybe have those guys see what it’s like at this level. It’s a lot of fun. We’re at the top of the tennis level here. You’re playing in a big stadium here. It doesn’t get any better in the tennis world, really. It’s good for college and future pro players to see, in my opinion.”
Baylor and Cal face off on Saturday, while Illinois takes on Tulsa. On Sunday, Baylor plays Illinois at 9:00 a.m. and Cal vs. Tulsa starts off at 12:00 p.m.