Gainesville, FL - The University of Florida men’s tennis team is
ranked No. 9 in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
preseason poll. In addition, the Gators had three singles players and
two doubles pairs nationally ranked. Florida will be embarking on its
10th season under the direction of head coach Andy Jackson, who has led UF to a 173-64 (.730) record, eight appearances at the NCAA finals site and seven ITA poll finishes in the top 11 during his tenure.
The Gators return five letterwinners from a 2010 squad that posted a
21-5 mark and reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, led by senior Alexandre Lacroix (Paris, France), who is ranked No. 4 in singles heading into the spring season.
After earning All-American honors in both singles and doubles during
the 2010 season, Lacroix posted a 14-2 record in individual action this
fall. He reached the semifinals at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate
Indoor Championships and advanced to the quarterfinals in the ITA
All-American Championships, which are two of the three collegiate Grand Slam events.
A pair of 2010 SEC All-Freshman performers join Lacroix, with Sekou
Bangoura Jr. (Bradenton, Fla.) and Bob van Overbeek (Boca Raton, Fla.)
both enjoying tournament victories during the fall season. The two also
reached their highest career singles rankings in the preseason poll,
with Bangoura ranked No. 28 and van Overbeek at No. 52.
Bangoura’s 12-3 fall record was bolstered by five wins in three days
to claim November’s Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic
in his hometown of Bradenton, while van Overbeek was victorious at the
University of Texas Invitational and finished the fall 13-2.
Junior Nassim Slilam (Paris, France) and sophomore Billy Federhofer
(North Miami, Fla.) round out the returning letterwinners. Slilam sports
a career 24-10 record and posted a win against a top-70 opponent this
fall. Federhofer finished the fall with a 6-6 singles mark and went 5-2
in doubles alongside Bangoura (2-1) and van Overbeek (3-1).
Lacroix and Slilam checked in at No. 11 in the national doubles
rankings, while Bangoura and Federhofer are ranked 54th.
Freshmen Michael Alford (Tampa, Fla.) and Andrew Butz (Vero Beach,
Fla.) together went 10-4 in doubles during the fall season and were
finalists at the Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic. In
singles, both notched their first career win over a ranked opponent
during the fall season. Butz also made a strong run at the USTA/ITA
Southeast Regional Championships, reaching the quarterfinals.
In addition, UF adds spring enrollee Spencer Newman (Miami, Fla.), who is ranked as a five-star, top-15 national recruit by
tennisrecruiting.net. Newman won the Orange Co. Winter Designated BG18 in Orlando, Fla., in February 2010, and was a quarterfinalist in the
Boys’ 18 singles draw of the 2010 USTA International Spring
Championships in Carson, Calif., in April 2010.
The Gators will kick off the spring at the SEC Indoor Championships, an
individual event, before opening the team season in Gainesville on Jan.
21 against Furman. Admission to all regular season home matches at
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex will be free.
In addition to its always-tough SEC schedule, Jackson has continued the trend of scheduling a tough non-conference slate for his team. The
Gators will welcome two-time defending national champion Southern Cal
onto its courts on March 17 and will face Baylor, ranked No. 7 in the
preseason poll, on Jan. 23. Florida also has the distinction of playing
host to the 2011 SEC Tournament, which will take place April 21-24.
Men’s National Team Rankings
1. University of Virginia
2. University of Southern California
3. University of Tennessee
4. Ohio State
5. University of Texas at Austin
9. University of Florida
10. Texas A&M
11. University of Georgia
12. University of Kentucky
13. University of Louisville
14. Duke University
15. Texas Tech
16. University of Illinois
17. University of Oklahoma
18. University of Mississippi
20. North Carolina
21. Pepperdine University
22. Wake Forest
23. Georgia Tech
24. Virginia Tech
25. University of Michigan
Men’s National Singles Rankings (UF only)
4. Alexandre Lacroix
28. Sekou Bangoura Jr.
52. Bob van Overbeek
Men’s National Doubles Rankings (UF only)
11. Alexandre Lacroix/Nassim Slilam
54. Sekou Bangoura Jr./Billy Federhofer