- Mark Merklein
Former University of Florida All-American Mark Merklein, perhaps the most decorated men’s tennis player in UF history, returned to Gainesville in the summer of 2013 as an assistant coach with head coach Bryan Shelton.
Merklein, who lettered at Florida from 1991-94, was the first Gator to earn All-America honors in both singles and doubles and was a two-time individual national champion. In 1993, he teamed with David Blair to win the NCAA doubles title and a year later he dominated the NCAA singles draw, dropping just one set the entire tournament on his way to claiming the singles title.
His four All-America honors are the most in school history and he was also selected as the 1994 SEC Player of the Year and was a three-time All-SEC selection. He finished his career ranked first in overall wins (now ranks fourth), first in singles wins (now third) and second in doubles victories (now 10th). Merklein was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame in 2005.
Merklein served as an assistant coach with the University of Michigan men’s tennis program for two seasons (2012-13), helping the Wolverines finish second in the Big Ten back-to-back years and reaching the NCAA Tournament each time. Prior to his stint in Ann Arbor, Merklein spent six years as a national coach with the USTA Player Development Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and three seasons as a volunteer coach for the Gators from 1998-2000.
Merklein played on the ATP professional tour for 12 years, from 1994 through 2005. He achieved career-high rankings of No. 35 (doubles) and No. 160 (singles) in the world, capturing four doubles titles during his career. Merklein coached tennis professional James Blake (ranked as high as No. 4 in the world) for two years, and was responsible for Blake’s complete fitness and nutrition program in addition to coaching.
Merklein also has international playing experience, competing for the Bahamas at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia (quarterfinalist), and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He also played for the Bahamas’ Davis Cup team from 1999 to 2005.
Merklein and his wife, Giulia, have two daughters, Gina and Olivia.
The Mark Merklein File
- Hometown: Coral Springs, Fla.
- High School: St. Thomas
- Education: University of Florida (1991-94)
- Played in 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games (Bahamas)
- ATP Tour Professional (1994-2005)
- Bahamas’ Davis Cup team (1999-2005)
- NCAA Doubles Champion (1993)
- NCAA Singles Champion (1994)
- Four-time NCAA All-American (1993. 94)
- 1994 SEC Player of the Year
- Inducted into University of Florida Hall of Fame (2005)
- University of Florida, Volunteer Assistant (1998-2000)
- USTA Player Development Center, Head Coach (2006-11)
- University of Michigan, Assistant Coach (2012-13)
- University of Florida, Assistant Coach (2013-present)