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Scholtz ready to play at high level after Davis Cup experience

Rebel netter Nik Scholtz recently represented South Africa — his home country — at the Davis Cup in Montreal, Canada. The sophomore feels playing on the big stage has him ready to play at a high level this year.
Ignacio Murillo/The Daily Mississippian

 
As a freshman last year, South African Nik Scholtz finished the year ranked No. 14 in the NCAA in singles. His first opponent in the Davis Cup in Montreal, Canada, Milos Raonic, was ranked No. 15 in the world. Raonic won the match 7-5, 6-4, 7-5, but for the reigning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, the experience is what he will take from the event.
 
“As a kid growing up, it was always one of my goals to represent my country,” Scholtz said. “It didn’t matter what sport, it was an honor regardless. It was a great experience. It meant a lot to me.”
 
It’s been a busy few weeks for Scholtz, who begins his sophomore campaign ranked No. 5 in singles. But no experience compared to competing in the Davis Cup. 
 
“I was kind of like the rookie,” Scholtz said. “I had to pick up the balls. The guys treated me well, though. It was good for me, actually. 
 
“They would help me. If they saw something in practice, they would help me. It definitely helped my game.”
 
Scholtz feels that there are aspects of his experience at the Davis Cup that will roll over and help him this year for Ole Miss.
 
“Playing on the big stage like that and playing guys that are better than college players,” Scholtz said. “It’s always good to play on a high level like that and come back to a lower level and a smaller level. If you can keep playing at that high level, it can make things easier for you.”
 
Scholtz and his doubles partner, senior Jonas Lutjen, finished the yeear ranked No. 10 in the NCAA and begins the year ranked as the No. 2 doubles team in the ITA preseason rankings. Their chemistry on the court is undeniable, as is their relationship off the court.
 
“Jonas is the first person that I met,” Scholtz said. “We roomed together my first year. He is a great guy, a great player and a great student. I’m not really sure what he’s not good at. He’s a hard worker, too. I feel like he’s that way in life.”
 
The Caledon, South Africa native remembers well his journey to Ole Miss. Associate head coach Toby Hansson was the first person he spoke with, and shortly after that, he began a relationship with head coach Billy Chadwick. For Scholtz, it was an easy decision.
 
“Toby was always there,” Scholtz said. “I didn’t take any official visits. I came when school had been in progress for two week and I told Coach Chadwick that I wanted to come. That was probably the best decision of my life.”
 
There is no doubt that Scholtz has a future in tennis, and he plans to pursue that future. He also plans to stay connected after his playing days are over.
 
“I would always like to be involved with the sport,” Scholtz said. “I’ve never been the one to want to sit in an office. It’s never been my personality.”
 
Scholtz will play No. 1 doubles and singles for the Rebels this year, as he did last year. He was one of only nine players to be named All-American in singles and doubles, and the only freshman.