Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, May 23, 2022

UF men's tennis looking to continue hot streak against Mississippi State

<p>UF men's tennis coach Bryan Shelton looks on during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex. </p>

UF men's tennis coach Bryan Shelton looks on during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex. 

The Florida men’s tennis team’s aspirations of winning a conference title last season ended abruptly in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Southeastern Conference Tournament, when UF fell to Mississippi State.

After 11 months of waiting, the No. 16 Gators (9-4, 4-1 SEC) will finally have the opportunity to avenge that disappointing loss when they take on the No. 24 Bulldogs (12-4, 4-2 SEC) tonight in Starkville.

“Certainly we’ll remind (our players) that they were the team that knocked us out of the tournament last year,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “That was a bitter feeling to leave College Station with that loss … so we’ll take every edge we can get to get motivated.”

The Gators enter tonight’s match against Mississippi State as one of the hottest teams in the country.

Since Feb. 27, UF has jumped 25 spots in the national rankings and has won five of its past six matches, outscoring its opponents by a total of 33-9 over that stretch.

In order to continue that strong play when they take on the Bulldogs, the Gators have been focusing on decision-making in tight situations to keep players from losing momentum.

“I think you get in trouble a lot of times when you don’t have a plan, or you don’t have a fallback plan when things start going off,” Shelton said. “So we want them to have multiple things that they can go to under pressure.”

The Bulldogs only return two players who participated in last year’s SEC quarterfinals match against UF, sporting one of the youngest teams in the entire SEC. Six of their nine players are freshmen.

However, that lack of experience has not slowed them down. Niclas Braun and Nuno Borges have been two of the country’s top freshmen in singles play this spring, boasting 11-1 and 11-2 records, respectively.

Mississippi State also has two players ranked in the top 80 in juniors Mate Cutura and Rishab Agarwal, who both played in last year’s SEC quarterfinals match against the Gators. Agarwal won the deciding point of that match, knocking off Chase Perez-Blanco 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to send the Bulldogs to the semifinals.

Following tonight’s match against MSU, Florida will be off to Alabama, where it’ll take on the Crimson Tide on Sunday at 2 p.m. Coach Shelton expects his team to be ready for both of this weekend’s matches, but did acknowledge that anything can happen away from home.

“(We’ve got to) go out there and compete and play hard on the road,” Shelton said. “Because in the SEC, to win on the road is a difficult thing.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon

UF men's tennis coach Bryan Shelton looks on during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex. 

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.