NORMAN – Oklahoma men’s tennis begins the 2017 fall season with two players ranked in the initial ITA rankings, released on Tuesday.
Senior Spencer Papa leads the way for OU at No. 16 in singles and is at No. 20 in doubles, paired with freshman teammate Jake van Emburgh.
"Jake and Spencer are both big guys with big serves," OU head coach Nick Crowell said. "They have the ability to take it to teams and really impose their games on opponents. It will be exciting to watch them grow and improve as the season goes on."
This marks the ninth straight year OU has had at least two players in the ITA preseason rankings to begin a season.
Papa, who recently appeared at the U.S. Open’s doubles draw, returns to OU after winning the 2017 NCAA doubles national title with Andrew Harris. The Edmond, Okla., earned ITA All-America honors a year ago in doubles and was also named an ITA All-Star for his performance at the NCAA Individual Championships.
"Spencer has established himself as one of the nation's best players," Crowell said of the senior. "He is hungry to build on last year's NCAA doubles championship and continue to improve his game as we progress during the season. I am excited to see him lead our team."
van Emburgh is entering his freshman season with the Sooners after graduating from the IMG Academy. Ranked the No. 7 recruit in the country by Tennis Recruiting.net, van Emburgh holds a career-high junior singles ranking of No. 190.
Papa and van Emburgh are slated to compete at the Oracle ITA All-American together in doubles, earning a spot in the main draw. Papa also received a bid in the main singles draw, while van Emburgh was selected for qualifying singles bracket. Six other Sooners were invited to compete in the pre-qualifying singles draw at the Oracle ITA All-American in Tulsa, Okla., starting Sept. 29.