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Thursday January 16, 2014Gators Competing in Illini Open in Fort Myers

Gainesville, Fla.

The Florida men’s tennis team will be playing its final individual tournament of the season this weekend, competing in the Illini Open beginning on Friday in Fort Myers. The Gators will be competing with players from Illinois and South Florida.


The Gators will have eight players competing this weekend. Doubles play is slated to begin each day at 10:00 a.m., Friday through Sunday, followed by singles play.


This weekend will be the final tune-up opportunity for Florida, which begins the 2014 dual season on Wednesday against North Florida.


“There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Where do we start with our lineup? That’s one of the questions,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “We want to see how the guys perform down there in Fort Myers. That’s going to help us at least with our starting point next week against UNF.”


The eight players in completion this weekend will enter the season as the favorites to play in the dual lineup. The Gators have a good mix of veterans and young players. Four seniors, Mike Alford, Florent Diep, Spencer Newman and Stephane Piro provide a lot of experience on the court. Sophomores Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson join freshmen Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin as young, talented players that will push the older guys.


“The matches this weekend are important for the guys,” said Shelton. “We feel like we’ve shaken most of the rust off from the break and we feel like we had a great week this past weekend in South Florida (at the USTA Futures event). We’re looking forward to the guys going out there and competing again and getting a little bit sharper so that we get to next Wednesday we’ll be ready to play some good tennis against UNF.


“I think those are the main things we’re looking to get out of this weekend, just looking at our guys and seeing how they compete, how well they weather the storms when the storms come out there on the court. That’s really our theme for this season: weathering the storm and embracing the storm. Because you never know what’s going to come up, but something’s going to come up. We want to see how well our guys adjust and how they deal with those things when they come up.”


As results from the weekend are made available, they will be posted on



2014 Illini Open

Three Oaks Tennis Club

Fort Myers, Florida


Teams Participating: Florida, Illinois, South Florida


UF Participants:

Mike Alford

Florent Diep

Diego Hidalgo

Maxx Lipman

Spencer Newman

Elliott Orkin

Stephane Piro

Gordon Watson



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