The Florida men’s tennis team will open a stretch of indoor play tonight on the road against No. 13 Michigan. Following a disappointing loss to then No. 22 Florida State, the Gators hope to adopt a more aggressive brand of tennis.
At Ann Arbor’s Varsity Tennis Center, play will be significantly faster than the outdoor conditions UF is accustomed to. Assistant coach Tanner Stump wants to see his players move forward on the court and approach the net when possible.
Alone with only the sound of music playing from his phone and the power of his imagination, freshman Oliver Crawford prepared to serve.
“Now that we’re moving indoors, just trying to put pressure on our opponents,” Stump said. “We’re trying to play downhill.”
Both Florida and Michigan hold 3-1 records and are coming off their first losses of the season. Michigan senior Alex Knight boasts the No. 3 singles ranking in the nation and is currently on a nine-match win streak. Knight and teammate senior Runhao Hua makeup the No. 9-ranked doubles pair.
This week’s ITA rankings featured a three-spot drop for No. 11 Florida. Sophomore Johannes Ingildsen remained at No. 7 in the singles poll, while junior Alfredo Perez fell one spot to No. 9. Ingildsen and Perez are now the No. 2-ranked doubles pair and hold a 2-1 record at Florida’s No. 1 doubles position this year.
The match will kick off a stretch of road tennis for the Gators after playing their first three matches at home and their fourth at a neutral site. Senior Chase Perez-Blanco isn’t worried about the adjustment.
“When we go on the road, we just have to stick together,” Perez-Blanco said. “And this team does a really good job of doing that.”