Johansson Earns Nation’s Top Singles Ranking
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Oskar Johansson has vaulted to the top of the collegiate tennis world after earning the nation’s top singles ranking according to the latest WingspanBank.com collegiate tennis rankings published on Monday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
Johansson is 21-3 this season including a national title at the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court Championships and a runner-up finish at the ITA Rolex Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Malmoe, Sweden, native knocked off former No. 1 Genius Chidzikwe of SMU in the semifinals of the ITA Indoor Championships earlier this month to pave the way for his rise to the top spot.
“When you stop to consider that there are over 3,000 players competing in Division-IA tennis and that the top singles player is in Fayetteville, Ark., that really puts it in perspective,” Arkansas head coach Robert Cox said. “Oskar has come a long way since he first arrived. He has matured on the court and it has made all the difference.”
Johansson became the fourth player in UA tennis history to garner the top singles ranking and the first since Mike Brown topped the rankings in 1989. Chip Hooper (1980) and Joey Blake (1986) also earned the top singles spot during their tenure at Arkansas. In addition, two doubles tandems have earned the No. 1 spot with Tim Crichton and Tom Hamilton being the most recent team to do so in 1997.
“Very few schools can boast four No. 1 players in school history,” Cox said. “The tennis tradition at Arkansas is phenomenal and Oskar has just added another chapter to that rich history. When you have a No. 1 player it helps validate your program and the things that you are doing. I think the entire program will benefit from Oskar’s success.”
Already an All-American, Johansson has been on a torrid pace this season topping the nation’s best singles players on a regular basis. Johansson has netted victories over the then No. 1, 3, 7, 10 and 13 ranked players in the country. The UA senior should strengthen his hold on the top spot after defeating No. 3 Matias Boeker of Georgia last weekend.
“I think everyone on our team can feed off the individual success that Oskar is having,” Cox said. “They compete with him everyday and hold their own. I think it is a big boost of confidence for our entire program. We just have to continue to do the things that got us to this point.”
Fellow UA teammate Henrik Tofft also got some good news on Monday. Tofft is ranked No. 21 in the latest singles rankings. The Falkenberg, Sweden, product is already 10-2 this spring after sitting out the fall campaign.
Arkansas is 8-1 and 0-1 in conference play after suffering a tough league loss at No. 4 Georgia on Sunday. The Razorbacks return to SEC action this Sunday when they host Vanderbilt at the UA Tennis Center.
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS’ NO. 1 TENNIS RANKINGS
Singles Chip Hooper, 1980
Joey Blake, 1986
Mike Brown, 1989
Oskar Johansson, 2001
Peter Doohan-Pat Serret, 1982
Tim Crichton-Tom Hamilton, 1997
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