The Seattle Tennis Club sits on the rocky shores of Lake Washington with a distant view of Mount Rainier. The choppy, blue waters and the snow-topped mountain will serve as the backdrop to this weekend’s ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
The Florida men’s tennis team is among 15 of the nation’s top 25 programs competing in the event.
“It’s going to be fun,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “We’ll have the chance to sightsee a little bit.”
After last weekend’s Big Ten road trip to No. 13 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State, this tournament will be the Gators’ final action before beginning official SEC dual-match play.
In today’s first-round, No. 11 Florida will play No. 6 Texas A&M in a preview of such conference action. The Aggies (5-1) hold the second-highest ranking of all SEC teams, trailing only No. 4 Georgia. Their roster features the No. 35-ranked singles player, sophomore Valentin Vacherot, and the No. 6-ranked doubles pair of freshman Juan Carlos Aguilar and senior Jordi Arconada.
The No. 11-ranked Gators (4-2) have lost in their last five meetings with Texas A&M. Their most recent win over the Aggies came in 2013 during Shelton’s first season as head coach.
Prior to today’s match, Shelton said he wants to see a stronger start from his team offensively.
“We’ve been talking about coming out and really trying to take the first punch,” Shelton said. “We need to be the aggressors.”
Florida’s lineup will remain mostly unchanged from previous matches, with No. 9-ranked junior Alfredo Perez and No. 7-ranked sophomore Johannes Ingildsen playing the top singles positions. Freshman Andy Andrade is likely to make his first appearance on the doubles court at some point this weekend.
The Gators’ first-round match against the Aggies is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. today. Florida will face either No. 3 North Carolina or No. 14 Notre Dame in Saturday’s round.