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Antelo out of the headlines, onto the bench

Heading into the 2003 season, the USF men’s tennis team’s intended headliner was Paco Antelo, the way he had been his first two years for the Bulls.

“I don’t have too much confidence at the moment,” Antelo said. “Coach told me to take a couple of weeks off to get back on track. Hopefully, within the next few weeks, I can turn it around.”

After posting a 12-5 singles record and an 11-9 doubles record in the 2001-02 season and being nationally ranked, the junior has started this season 5-1 in doubles, but 5-6 in singles.

Antelo has struggled recently, posting a record of 3-3 in his last six matches.

In each of the three losses, he has forced his opponents into a third set.

Ranked 101st, Antelo has watched his stock fall from No. 54 entering the spring season. Antelo’s highest ranking was No. 41 following the 2001 fall season.

His sub -.500 record comes due to lack of confidence, a factor that Antelo overcame last season, in part, by seeing a sports psychologist.

Antelo started to take some time off Saturday while his teammates were playing Dartmouth. Antelo took part in exhibition matches, playing both singles and doubles.

In the doubles match, Antelo teamed with senior Jorge Escallon to take the win 8-4.

Antelo usually pairs with partner Renato Silveira, and the two have teamed for a 5-0 record.

Antelo also won his singles exhibition match, giving USF coach Don Barr confidence that one of his team’s leaders will be back shortly.

“Paco has been improving. His game isn’t there yet, but he is on the right track,” Barr said. “He needs to keep playing and battling hard. I have confidence in him that he will be on target once we get to the Conference USA Tournament in Milwaukee.”

The Bulls (9-3, No. 25 in the country) are coming off a 2-1 record last week and looking to spoil Murray State’s two-game winning streak today at 2 at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.

“(Murray State) has been down in Florida since Wednesday practicing in the heat,” Barr said.

“We need to play them at an ‘A’ level and be ready to battle no matter what their rankings are.”