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Men’s tennis looking to accelerate rebuilding process in 2018

The Clemson men’s tennis team is looking to build upon what has been a strong start to the 2018 season. The Tigers are currently 6-2 (does not include Miami match on Sunday), and they picked up their first ACC win last week against Georgia Tech. While the strong start is encouraging for the Tigers, they still have a lot to prove. The Tigers have yet to face a ranked opponent outside of Florida State, and as the ACC schedule begins to ramp up, the Tigers will begin to be tested on a weekly basis.

After a disappointing 2017 season that saw the Tigers lose fifteen of their final seventeen matches, the team is simply looking to take a step forward in 2018.  While it is unlikely that the Tigers will be able to compete with ACC powerhouses of Wake Forest, North Carolina and Florida State this season, they will certainly be looking to improve upon their 2-10 ACC record from a year ago. 

While the Tigers graduated five seniors from last year’s roster, there is hope for improvement this season. The Tigers will be under head coach John Boetsch for his second full season, and they will return two of their key players from last season: Alex Favrot and Sam Edwards. Favrot and Edwards will look to step up as leaders of this young Clemson team  composed of seven underclassmen and only three upperclassmen. The future is bright for the Tigers as many of their young players, including Simon Baudry, Carlos Kelaidis and Marshall Dagostine, are already making significant contributions this season. 

While the Tigers suffered their second loss of the season on Friday against No. 12 Florida State, there were some positive takeaways from the defeat. Most notably, the French duo of Favrot and Baudry defeated the No. 14 doubles team in the nation 7-5. Favrot later rallied to win his singles match against No. 12 Guy Iradukunda in three sets by a score of 6-4, 1-6, 7-6. While the result wasn’t what the Tigers were hoping for going in to the match, the fact that they were competitive against one of the best teams in the country is an encouraging sign for the program overall.

With their win last Friday at Georgia Tech, the Tigers showed significant improvement from a year ago. On March 3, 2017, the Tigers did not pick up a single point against the Yellow Jackets as they lost 7-0 in the home match. This year, the Tigers won with a commanding 5-2 score-line and claimed their first ACC win of the season. The victory also gave Clemson their fifth win over teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last season.

For now, the Tigers will be playing their home matches at the Anderson University Tennis Facility in Anderson, SC where they will be back in action on Sunday, March 25 against Virginia. These tough opponents  who are looking to win their fourth straight National Championship. However, Virginia is not the same team as they have been in years past. Their four losses this season are nearly half as many as they have suffered in the past five seasons combined. Before the Tigers return home, however, they will take on Furman, UNC Asheville and Louisville on the road. 

The Tigers will also be looking forward to the state-of-the-art tennis facility that is currently under construction on campus. Clemson recently approved the 12.5 million dollar project that will allow for the construction of six indoor courts, as well as new locker rooms and coaches offices. The Tigers are hoping that with a bounce-back season and their new facility, the program that has had only one twenty-win season in the past decade can turn itself around in 2018. 



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