Five things to know: ITA Indoor Nationals

UW welcomes 15 of nation’s top teams to Madison Feb. 9-12

MADISON, Wis. – Competing over a four-day span, Wisconsin will be one of 16 total teams vying for the 2018 ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The tournament will take place Friday, Feb. 9-Monday, Feb. 12 at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Championship draws, including match times are expected to be released shortly.

1. SOLID START: Wisconsin is off to its best start in over 30 years, owning a perfect 6-0 mark in the season’s opening month. However, the competition will ratchet up several notches this weekend when the Badgers enter an ITA Championship field that includes 14 of the nation’s top 25 teams.

UW freshman Lexi Keberle has had little trouble easing into her first collegiate season, going 6-0 at the No. 1 singles position as well as 5-0 in doubles action so far during this spring dual season. She is one of five Badgers who have gone undefeated in dual play.

2. LET’S SCOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD: Wisconsin will host 15 of the nation’s top teams this weekend. Among the teams competing: No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 UNC, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 Texas, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 UCLA, No. 15 Ole Miss, No. 19 South Carolina and No. 21 Wake Forest. As hosts, the Badgers received an automatic bid into the tournament.

The ITA’s latest singles rankings were released on Nov. 15, 2017 and this weekend’s championship field will include six of the top 10 individuals and 12 of the top 25 women. The highest-ranked player is No. 4 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt. Following her is No. 5 Gabriela Talaba from Texas Tech, No. 7 Samantha Harris from Duke, No. 8 Anna Danilina from Florida, No. 9 Alle Sanford from UNC and No. 10 Bianca Turati of Texas at Austin.

3. HISTORY IS CRUCIAL: Nielsen has played host to the ITA Indoor Championship 24 times in its history. Starting in 1988, the Badgers hosted the tournament every year until 2011. From 2011 to 2015 the tournament was held elsewhere, returning to Madison in 2016. Wisconsin has never found itself in the championship match when hosted at Nielsen. Stanford has the most championships when played at Nielsen, with nine.

4. FOLLOW ALONG: For Wisconsin fans, live updates, scores, photos and videos will be posted on Instagram (badgerwten) and Twitter (BadgerWTennis). Fans can also follow the ITA on Twitter (ITA_Tennis) and the Instagram (ita_tennis). There will also be a live scoring for the event on ITATennis.com (http://www.itatennis.com/Events/ITANationalChampionships/DIWomensTeamIndoors.htm) and live video streams will be set up through uwbadgers.com for certain courts (http://uwbadgers.com/sports/2016/11/1/tennis-video-streams.aspx?id=1239).

5. LOOKING AHEAD: Following the Team Indoor Championship, the Badgers take to the road to begin a five-game road swing. Wisconsin will head to Las Vegas to compete against Arizona (Feb. 17) and UNLV (Feb. 18) before heading to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech (Feb. 23) and James Madison (Feb. 25). The final road match will mark the start of Big Ten play for Wisconsin as the Badgers head to the Twin Cities to play Minnesota (March 3).