Former Men's Tennis Star Jesse Witten to Play in Men's Clay Court Championships

April 2, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Former University of Kentucky men’s tennis star Jesse Witten is set to compete in the opening round of qualifying of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston on Saturday.

Witten, who is ranked 217th in the ATP World Rankings, will face sixth-seeded Franco Skugar of Croatia. Skugar is ranked 150th in the ATP World Rankings. The 32-player qualifying field will be narrowed down through three rounds with four players gaining entry into the main draw.

The former UK great qualified for Wimbledon in 2010, where he fell in the opening round of the event 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3 to Michael Llodra of France. Witten earned one of 16 qualifying positions for Wimbledon after winning three consecutive matches. He defeated Greg Jones (6-2, 7-6 [8-6]) and Bobby Reynolds (5-7, 6-3, 6-1) before claiming a best-of-five-sets final-round victory against Soeda, 6-2, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on June 17. Witten also qualified for the French Open in May 2010, where he fell in the opening round to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Witten grew into an iconic tennis figure at Kentucky during his college days (2002-05), becoming only the 11th four-time men's singles All-American in NCAA history. Witten was named the 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and advanced to the championship match of the 2005 NCAA Singles Championship. As a newcomer in 2002, Witten was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, helping the Wildcats to a 23-10 mark and eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Witten’s is expected to attend the Kentucky men’s basketball Final Four game in Houston on Saturday night.

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