Dec. 13, 2002

The 2002-03 season will mark Ty Tucker’s fourth year as the men’s tennis head coach. With at least eight matches against Top 25 opponents, Tucker expects his team to be ready to compete.

“Our schedule is one of the strongest since I have been here, “Tucker said. “We are going to have to improve every month, every week and every day. Come Jan. 15 when the (spring) season gets underway, we hope to be right in the mix.”

Marc Wurtzman, a 1998 graduate of The Ohio State University, is in his first year as the OSU men’s tennis assistant coach. For the past two seasons, Wurtzman held the position of assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin. Wurtzman is happy to be back at his alma mater and plans on building his resume at Ohio State.

“I have high goals and came here to better my career,” Wurtzman said. “The main reason I came here is for a chance at a Big Ten title. The team and the coaching staff really get the job done here.”

Tucker believes that Wurtzman will be an asset this season, especially when Big Ten play begins.

Tucker said the 2003 schedule is the strongest he has seen over his past three years as head coach for the Buckeyes. The coaching staff, confident in what the team can pull off starting in January, hopes to be right in the mix when the 2003 season gets underway. Tucker underlines Michigan, Notre Dame and Illinois as Ohio State’s most probable top rivals, though, every match will be just as important. The Buckeyes’ road schedule also is one of the most physical.

“We have a tough schedule, especially starting in January with UCLA, Alabama and Vanderbilt on the road,” Tucker said. “Top-15 team Virginia Commonwealth is coming here as well as Mississippi on the road that will be Top-10.”

Tucker’s tactics of hard work and dedication in the preseason are expected to show signs of a confident team ready to take on the Big Ten. Strong and solid practices are anticipated to pay off against their 2003 Big Ten opponents.

“Illinois and Minnesota are very tough,” Tucker said. “We are going to have to improve every day to be able to compete for a Big Ten title which is always the main goal.”

With two freshmen, a transfer and a recruit adding to the 2003 roster, Tucker anticipates many key players to step up and take control as they add depth to the Ohio State team. The Buckeyes have preseason experience, competing in four national and regional tournaments.

“Jeremy Wurtzman, Conor Casey, Vince Ng and Phil Metz are all going to add to the dimension of the team,” Tucker said. “We have a recruit coming in from Belgium (Dennis Mertens) and we got some young guys that are inexperienced but will get some tournament matches in the fall.

Ohio State is one of four or five schools that have two players (Wurtzman No. 21 and Metz No. 29) ranked in the Top-30 in the nation.”

Freshmen Buckeyes Scott Green and Ross Wilson come to Ohio State with many national junior merits and are committed to Tucker’s ideals for a successful first-year.

“Scott Green and Ross Wilson are very good players,” Tucker said. “They come here with national junior experience and very good state high school credentials in Ohio. They will definitely help this year and we are looking forward to those guys.”

Tucker expects to OSU junior Joel Carney, a transfer student-athlete from Bowling Green University, to maximize his playing skills in matches for Ohio State.

“We are looking forward to Joel Carney stepping in and playing some minutes,” Tucker said. “He has had two transfers, now he is with us and we are hoping to get two solid years from him.”

In the ITA Division I preseason national rankings, junior Jeremy Wurtzman is No. 21 in singles. Senior Phil Metz, is ranked at the No. 29 singles position. Metz is taking the fall season off playing pro tennis as an amateur and will return to the team in January. The duo of Wurtzman and junior Conor Casey are tied at the No. 51 position in doubles.

In the fall Midwest Regional IV rankings, Ohio State has two student-athletes ranked in the Top-10 of the singles division. Junior Jeremy Wurtzman is ranked No. 4 and senior Vince Ng is positioned at No. 6. The duo of Brenton Contini and Wurtzman are ranked No. 10 in the fall Midwest Regional IV doubles standings.

Buckeye senior Vince Ng has been selected captain for the 2002-03 season.

Tucker said Ng is the hardest working student-athlete at Ohio State.

“Vince leads by example,” Tucker said. “He is on the Presidential Scholarship, he is an Academic All-American and he is on pace to set the record for career singles wins at Ohio State. How could I not select him as captain?”

Phil Metz, a senior on the Ohio State men’s tennis team, has took the fall quarter off. Metz is currently competing in national professional tennis tournaments as an amateur and is expected to return to Ohio State when January play begins winter quarter.

The professional tennis league is comprised of four levels beginning with satellites and futures, continuing up to challengers and ATP tennis (televised professional matches). Metz is contending as an amateur in the futures level, matched against and defeating world-ranked tennis players.

In September, Metz competed in California, and defeated a native of Ohio world-ranked in the 400’s.