FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The International Tennis Association announced Tuesday that junior Oskar Johansson has earned a national eighth-place preseason ranking with his play in the fall tournament season and overall play last season.
“I really didn’t expect to get up in the top 10 so quickly,” Johansson said. “Once you are in the top 10 it is hard to advance, but I have to build higher goals now.”
The eighth-place preseason ranking is the highest singles ranking in the history of Arkansas tennis. Marcus Hilpert played his way into a fifth-place ranking in 1995, while the duo of Tim Crichton and Tom Hamilton played their way to the No. 1 spot in doubles in 1997.
“Everyone would like to beat a top 10 player, that’s what I have dreamed about.” Johansson said. “It feels kind of weird. Of course, they expect more out of you and now you have to live up to it.”
The Malmoe, Sweden native, had a 15-4 fall season tournament record and had his first collegiate victory at the ASU Invitational in October. In late October, Johansson placed second at the Rolex Regionals in Ft. Worth, Texas. The runner-up finish qualified him for the 1999 Rolex Indoor Championships in February. The tournament will host the top-two players from each of the eight tennis regionals throughout the country.
Last season, Johansson had a 24-8 record overall and a 17-11 record in doubles. He finished the season ranked 61st and was voted to 35th in the 1999 fall preseason rankings.
“He has come a long way,” head coach Robert Cox said. “He has always had the talent, but now he has mentally gotten better and it has helped him. Having a No. 1 player like Oskar should be a benefit in the spring.”
The Hogs will begin the 2000 season Jan. 14-16, when they will host some of the greatest players that have played at Arkansas in an Alumni Weekend in Fayetteville.