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Wednesday January 9, 2013Men's Tennis to Open Spring Season at Three Oaks Shootout in Fort Myers

Gainesville, Fla.

The 2013 spring season kicks off this weekend for the Florida mens tennis team, as they travel south to compete in the Three Oaks Shootout in Fort Myers, Fla., at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park. The event features four collegiate teams competing in a round-robin style tournament running Friday through Sunday.


The Gators, who open the season ranked 12th in the ITA Mens Team Rankings, will compete against players from No. 16 Illinois, N.C. State and Georgia Tech. Each player will play three singles matches and a minimum of three doubles matches. The event will begin each day at 10 a.m. with doubles action followed by singles action. Results from the event will be posted on each day when they are available.


I think our guys are really excited about this season, about what it holds for us as a team and also what it holds for each of them individually, said head coach Bryan Shelton. They put in a lot of work back in the fall to get in better condition and to develop. After a little bit of a break for the holiday, I think its a great way for us to jumpstart this season.


Florida will have seven players scheduled to play this weekend. Seniors Bob van Overbeek and Billy Federhofer, juniors Michael Alford, Florent Diep and Stephane Piro and freshmen Luke Johnson. For Piro, it will mark his first collegiate event, as he was required to sit out year after enrolling in January of 2012.


I know Steph is excited. Hes waited a full year to have this opportunity to play, said Coach Shelton. Its one of the most difficult things as an athlete to prepare every single day and work on your game without being able to compete, because you really gain so much from competition. It motivates you, whether you win or lose, youre motivated to work harder and to train harder. A lot of people can hit the ball, but players want to play. Steph is definitely a player. Were looking forward to seeing him play this semester for the Gators.


For Watson, a native of Naples, Fla., it will be a homecoming of sorts. After an outstanding junior career, Watson enrolled at Florida in January of 2012 and redshirted. Last fall, he compiled a 9-4 record in tournament action, winning the singles title at the Bedford Cup in September.


Its nice for Gordon to play close to home. His parents and friends are going to be able to watch him play and compete, Coach Shelton said on Wednesday. Thats always special when you get to play close to your hometown and have that opportunity to compete in front of your home crowd. Hopefully hell have some friends and family out there this weekend to support him and support the Gators.


This weekend marks the final individual competition of the season until the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in May. The Gators will begin their dual match season next Saturday, January 19, hosting Miami at noon at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.


To be able to know that were going to get three quality singles matches and a minimum of three quality doubles matches, its great for our guys, said Coach Shelton. Its going to be great preparation for our first home match against Miami on January 19.



Three Oaks Shootout

Barbara Manzo Tennis Center at Three Oaks Park

18251 Three Oaks Parkway, Fort Myers, Fla.


Schedule of Play

Friday, January 11

10 a.m. Doubles play

11:30 a.m. Singles play begins


Saturday, January 12

10 a.m. Doubles play

11:30 a.m. Singles play begins


Sunday, January 13

10 a.m. Doubles play

11:30 a.m. Singles play begins


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