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Coach pushes bold play indoors

This early in the year, men’s tennis coach Don Barr said he just wants his players to be more aggressive.

This weekend, a pair of Bulls head to the International Tennis Association Southeast Indoor Regionals hosted by the University of Memphis at the Racquet Club of Memphis. The USF duo of junior Federico Barton and freshman Marc Jager will participate in both singles and doubles play.

The indoor surface will force the players to utilize an attacking style of play, Barr said. Barton and Jager make the trip, while Dillon Brozyna, listed in the tournament draw, won’t go because of a knee injury.

The indoor surface provides an interesting setting for the Bulls, who haven’t played inside since last season.

“It’s a little bit of a different game playing indoors,” Barr said. “You have to be more aggressive, which is something I want my players to start doing. I think both have to play very aggressively. I think it’s a good stepping stone for them to play more aggressively throughout the season.”

Barton enters the tournament looking for his first win of the year after a 0-3 start. Two of those losses came to ranked players.

The junior is coming off a successful season. He played to a record of 22-10 in 2003, mostly at the No. 2 position, and split two matches against ranked opponents.

Barton played his way into the indoor regional tournament in 2002 by winning a qualifying match. He made a quick exit, though, losing in the first round of the tournament. The Bulls did not participate in the 2003 tournament.

Jager enters the tournament with significant indoor experience. The freshman hails from Germany, where indoor tennis is widely played. Jager is still looking for his first collegiate win after losing his first two matches this season, playing in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.

The Bulls won’t be without good company at the tournament, as 24 of the top 120 players are in the field, including two of the nation’s top 10.

No. 3 Jesse Witten of Kentucky is the tournament’s top seed while No. 6 Zoltan Pelva of Auburn is the second seed.

The qualifying draw begins today and the main draw begins Friday morning.