Nov. 15, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma head women’s tennis coach David Mullins announced the signing of Emma Devine and Zita Engbroks for the 2012-2013 season, Tuesday, as well as Abbi Melrose for the 2012 spring season.
“I am thrilled about our new additions,” Mullins said. “All three of them will be coming to college with a lot of competitive experience and will make an immediate impact on our lineup.”
Melrose signed a financial aid agreement with the Sooners and will begin competition in January while Devine and Engbroks both signed National Letters of Intent for the fall of 2012.
“They all possess the qualities I look for in student athletes and they will fit seamlessly into our team culture,” Mullins added. “We feel very fortunate that they have chosen the University of Oklahoma as they had dozens of scholarship offers from around the country.”
All three recruits hail from outside the U.S. Devine is a Edinburgh, Scotland-native from Beaconhurst School, Engbroks is from Berufskolleg Vera Beckers in Weeze, Germany, while Melrose heads to Norman from Brighton, England.
“The last few months have been the busiest recruiting months I have ever experienced here at OU,” Mullins said. “The success we have experienced the last couple of years has resonated a great deal with recruits around the world and there is a lot more genuine interest in the program now than when we first started three years ago.”
Melrose has played in four International Tennis Federation semifinals, three quarterfinals and one doubles final in her career.
“Abbi will be joining us this coming January and should make a very quick adjustment to college tennis,” Mullins said. “She spent the last four weeks competing in professional events in Jamaica and will close out the year playing similar events in Turkey before moving to Norman.”
Melrose was ranked No. 1 in Britain in the 18 and under division from February 2010-April 2011 and No. 1 in the 16 and under division from August 2009-January 2010.
“The level of competition she is facing on a weekly basis will give her a lot of confidence as she commences her college career,” Mullins said.
At the age of 16, Melrose won the 18 and Under Masters in February of 2010. Melrose’s highest ITF ranking was No. 311.
Devine, ranked No. 290 by ITF, is a top five fastest mover in the poll over the last six months. At age 15, Devine won both the Great Britain Under 16 Masters and the Great Britain National Doubles Championship.
“Emma has also started competing in professional events and just recently secured a world ranking in singles and doubles,” Mullins said. “She comes to college with some big weapons in her game and an eagerness to get better.”
At just 16, Devine has represented Scotland at the national level of countless tournaments for the past three years.
“Emma will only be 17 when she arrives on campus but has travelled extensively throughout the world and will not be fazed by the college game one bit,” Mullins said.
Devine has multiple ITF semifinals and quarterfinals appearances and won the ITF Grade Four Singles in 2010.
Engbroks won three tournament titles and was the runner-up eight times in 2011. Engbroks played in the first position for her team that won both state and regional championships.
“Zita has a very big game and will be able to trade groundstroke rallies with the best of them,” Mullins said. “She continues to climb the German rankings and will also come to America extremely match-tough.”
Engbroks is ranked No. 13 in Germany in her age division and No. 125 out of all women in Germany.
“This has been a great recruiting class for our program and we are looking forward to some bright careers for all three of these young ladies.”