The University of North Carolina men's tennis team is ranked 18th nationally in the first season rankings issued last Thursday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Tar Heels are the third highest ranking Atlantic Coast Conference Team and will face a host of pre-season nationally ranked teams during the coming campaign.
Coach Sam Paul's team will rely on youth in the coming season as only three starters — senior William Parker and sophomores Esben Hess-Olesen and Oystein Steiro — return from 2011-12.
Carolina opens its season on January 19 with a doubleheader against Wofford and Gardner-Webb.
Hess-Olesen, a sophomore from Viby, Denmark, is ranked 18th in the preseason singles rankings after winning the singles title last fall at the ITA Carolinas Regional. Incoming freshman Brett Clark is ranked 57th and junior Nelson Vick, a transfer from Ohio State, is ranked 58th in the preseason ITA singles rankings. Parker is ranked 102nd as Carolina barely missed placing four players in the preseason Top 100. Hess-Olesen and Vick are ranked 44th in doubles heading into the season.
During the course of the regular season UNC will play a host of matches against nationally-ranked teams including #1 Virginia, #4 Ohio State, #5 Duke, #16 Illinois, #17 Tulsa, #19 Tennessee, #23 Texas, #31 VCU, #32 Florida State, #34 Louisville, #40 NC State, #43 Virginia Tech, #59 Georgia Tech, #60 CLemson, #65 Miami and #66 Wake Forest.