Sept. 24, 1997

Boiler Tennis Gets Down and Dirty in the Clay

By Elliot Bloom
Sports Information Student Assistant

'Tis the season for Purdue men's tennis. The fall campaign gets underway as the Boiler' top doubles team competes in the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court tournament on Sept. 25-28 in Baltimore. The junior duo of Cris James and Derek Myers will be competing in the most prestigious collegiate clay court event of the year.

One of college tennis' four grand slam events, the clay court tournament consists of six of the top 10 doubles teams from around the country. The tournament includes a 64-player singles and 32-team doubles field. James and Myers, ranked as high as seventh nationally in 1997, enter the main draw unseeded but as one of the top challengers. They will face South Alabama's Chisholm/Piibor in the first round.

At this event in 1996, James and Myers won their first match and advanced to the consolation finals before bowing out. According to coach Tim Madden, last year' experience will definitely help his pupils be more successful this time around.

"Cris and Derek are in the main draw and have competed in all four of the grand slam events in the past," says Madden. "I look for them to improve on their past performances at these events, especially the clay courts. If they can put together a complete event, then the stage is set for a run at the title."

Madden is not the only one who feels the potential for success is within reach.

"We want to try and win one of the four grand slam events this year," says James. "With the way we have been practicing so far this fall, I think we have a very good chance to make some noise this weekend."

James and Myers have reason to be confident heading into this season. In 1996-97 the tandem went 34-17 (11-2 Big Ten) and collected a tournament victory in the Milwaukee Tennis Classic in January.

While James and Myers will be in Maryland, their teammates willl held to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the Tom Fallon Inviational on Sept. 26-28.