Taylor Russo, the No. 12-ranked recruit in the United States, and Roos Van Der Zwaan, a five-time national champion from the Netherlands, have each signed to play for the Auburn women’s tennis team, head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner has announced.
“We are striving to be the most physically and mentally tough team in not just the SEC, but the nation,” Longbotham Meisner said. “I believe adding these two recruits to an already strong group of girls is putting ourselves in the position to be able to reach the expectations we have set for ourselves. I am really excited for what the future holds for the Auburn Women’s Tennis Program and for the years to come.”
Along with her No. 12 national ranking, Russo, from Deerfield Beach, Fla., is the No. 2 ranked player in the Southeast and the top-ranked player in the state of Florida.
“We are beyond thrilled to have signed a top-ranked American player to our tennis program,” Longbotham Meisner said. “Taylor embodies everything that we are looking for in a recruit to represent Auburn University on and off the tennis court. Her pure talent, extreme desire to continue to grow as an athlete and her overall character will make her a huge contributor in advancing our team to the next level. I expect her to be an impact player from day one in both singles and doubles and can’t wait to see her wear the orange and blue as an Auburn Tiger.”
Playing at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy, the 5-foot-4, right-handed Russo was the 2015 Florida Level 3 State Doubles Champion, the 2015 National Selection Level 2 Doubles Champion and the 2015 16s National Clay and Hard Court Doubles Champion. She was also the Silver Ball winner at the 2015 National Spring Team championships in Alabama and advanced to the round of 16 at both the 2015 Hard Court Nationals and the 2015 International Spring Championship. She went 9-2 at the National Clay Courts 18s and made the 2015 18s National Hard Court Sweet 16 as an individual.
In 2014 she was a 16s Orange Bowl quarterfinalist, a South Carolina ITF finalist and was on the 2014 Florida Level 3 State Doubles third place team, winning the sportsmanship award.
As a student at Grandview Prep for Bucky Adams, Russo has been a two-time Sun-Sentinel All Palm Beach County First Team selection.
Van Der Zwaan, who started playing tennis at the age of 5, reached as high as No. 1 in the Junior Dutch Rankings and is ranked 1,146 in the WTA singles and 1,256 in WTA doubles.
“We are extremely excited to have signed a player with such international experience and success to our team,” Longbotham Meisner said. “Roos will be able to bring her experience and maturity to a hungry young team and we expect her to be able to compete and win against the highest level in the country. She has big goals for herself and we hope to be able to see her reach her true potential as an Auburn Tiger. “
The right-handed Van Der Zwaan was ranked No. 84 in the ITF under 18 and represented the Netherlands in the European Championships three times and also played in the Roland Garros Junior Grand Slam.