Quiet tennis team has loud weekend

Andreas Maroldt didn’t even know what his opponent was ranked. He didn’t care. All he knew was that he was up a set on a player seeded higher than he was and that his shoulder was throbbing.

Maroldt fought on despite a strained shoulder, eventually taking the match against No. 7 Franticek Babej (South Alabama) 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 at the USF invitational last weekend.

The win came just after USF’s doubles team of junior Federico Barton and freshman Dillon Brozyna took care of the No. 12 ranked pair Babej and Pavel Mazav, also of South Alabama, 7-4.

It was arguably the most successful win by a USF team so far this year.

Beating nationally ranked opponents is nothing new for the USF tennis team. The Bulls are in the hunt for a conference title and every year they play some of the best competition in the country. Most people on campus couldn’t name one player.

Maroldt said he doesn’t mind. After all, he pointed out, even if the football team loses it generates a lot of revenue.

“Tennis is not a sport that makes any money (at USF),” Maroldt said. “The football team makes all the money and we spend some of it. So I’m not complaining.”

USF coach Don Barr has other plans. He hopes a successful spring and a top-ten ranking will attract a good following.

Until then, all he can do is offer them advice.

“I tell them they just have to know they’re representing their school,” Barr said. “We’re not getting the glory but we’re a part of it.”

The team’s fall season came to a close this weekend. The Bulls won’t start back up again until they host the USF Spring Invitational tournament in late January.

Maroldt, whose win over the seventh-ranked player in the country was his best, is faced with the possibility of surgery on his shoulder and missing three or more months. He said he will decide in the coming weeks whether the surgery is worth missing a large portion of his senior season.

“It’s disappointing because I finally learned how to play hard court,” Maroldt said. In his native Germany, he plays mostly on the clay surface. “My game is getting better.”

It’s also disappointing because it comes on the heels of one of the USF athletic program’s best wins.