USF tennis team to host invitational

After a fall season that saw the doubles pairs thrive with success and singles players struggle, coach Don Barr hopes the USF men’s tennis team can show improvement this weekend when it hosts UCF, Clemson and Florida A&M in the USF Spring Invitational.

“I want to see who is ready to start playing,” Barr said. “I want to see them be a little more aggressive than they were in the fall.”

Barr said playing this tournament before the season begins can help his team. And the tournament helps him from a coaching standpoint because he will be able to see what level his players are playing at and who still needs to improve before their first match at Miami on February 7.

“Sometimes it helps players to get the first games behind them, and I like (the tournament) because it won’t hurt them,” Barr said. “It is also going to help determine the lineups for the season.”

The tournament will be structured in a format known as hidden dual matches where players can improve their individual ranking while the team record is not affected.

The Bulls’ doubles pairs closed out the fall season with a combined 12-4 record while the team struggled in singles with a 30-35 record. Barr said he is looking for improvement in his team’s effort.

Today USF will get a chance to scout its first opponent of the tournament when FAMU squares off against UCF at 10 a.m. The Bulls opener is Saturday against the Rattlers at 10 a.m. Then Sunday, USF plays its biggest rival, UCF, at 1 p.m. before closing out the tournament Monday against Clemson at 1 p.m.

Watching from the stands this weekend will be the Bulls newest member, Mark Gattiker, who just arrived from his native Argentina. Though he won’t get a chance to see his newest acquisition in action this weekend, Barr is excited to see what the Argentinean will do to improve the team.