The Baylor men's tennis team will start the 2017 season ranked No. 22 in the country, after the Intercollegiate Tennis Association unveiled the first Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings of the new season Wednesday.
The team ranking of No. 22 is 10 spots higher than the No. 32 ranking that the Bears earned to end the 2016 campaign.
Last year, Baylor tallied a 16-14 record and made the NCAA second round. In 2017, the Bears will be looking to capture their 14th Big 12 regular season title in the last 18 years and the ninth league tournament crown in the last 16 years.
Individually, senior Max Tchoutakian is ranked No. 44 in singles. He was ranked No. 54 in September's preseason singles rankings and then went 9-5 in fall singles play, including wins over 48th-ranked Logan Smith of USC, No. 30 Gabriel Friedrich of South Carolina and No. 22 Elliot Orkin of Florida. Tchoutakian ended the season by winning the singles title at the Jack Kramer Invitational.
Meanwhile, sophomore Jimmy Bendeck earned the first singles ranking of his career at No. 81. He was 11-2 in fall singles play and won the Napa Valley Tennis Classic. He also upset TCU's 99th-ranked Jerry Lopez at the ITA Texas Regional Championships.
The Bears will start the 2017 season with individual play at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup on Jan. 13, before opening its dual-match season on Jan. 21 by hosting a doubleheader against Incarnate Word at 1 p.m. and Grand Canyon at 6 p.m.