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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Florida men's and women's tennis teams will be returning to action today at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships, which will be held in Athens, Ga., for the men and Atlanta for the women.

For many players on both teams, the weekend's matches will provide an opportunity to prove they can bounce back from earlier injury or disappointment.

This tournament will mark the first action of the season for sophomores Joey Burkhardt and Carlos Cueto, who had both been sidelined with injuries up to this point. Cueto spent much of the offseason hampered by lingering tendinitis, while Burkhardt spent most of his summer in a boot recovering from a broken foot he sustained during a game of basketball.

"They have been practicing well, and I would say both of them are over 50 percent of the way back," coach Andy Jackson said.

"Hopefully they'll both be able to get at least a match or two in singles and doubles and make progress to be ready for January."

The ITA Southeast Regional will be the first event this season where the entire UF team is scheduled to compete in both singles and doubles competition, including junior Alex Lacroix, who is attempting to bounce back after a disappointing collapse in the quarterfinals of the ITA All American.

Lacroix had a 5-2 third set lead against Steve Johnson of USC, only to lose the final five games and his shot at a semifinal appearance.

Still, Jackson is optimistic about Lacroix's performance.

"I don't think he should be disappointed, and hopefully he's not having to bounce back and can just keep the momentum going. He's had two very good events so far."

On the women's side, both Allie Will and Lauren Embree will be playing their first matches since quarterfinal losses at the ITA All American. For Embree, the loss was the first of her collegiate career.

Associate head coach Dave Balogh is not at all worried about the mindset of his talented freshmen.

"The good thing is those two aren't caught up in the results right now and they're focused on working hard and doing the right things," Balogh said.

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Sophomore Claire Bartlett will be the only other UF woman joining the two freshman in Atlanta, as Marrit Boonstra is dealing with a muscle pull in her ribs while Anastasia Revzina and Joanna Mather are both still recovering from the flu.

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