KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Florida State men’s tennis team will host the 2014 Collegiate Clay Court Invitational presented by VISIT FLORIDA at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. The event, in its third year, will also take place at two other central Florida clay court sites, Grand Cypress Tennis & Racquet Club and Isleworth Golf and Country Club.
“We’re looking forward to the tournament like we do every year,” head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “We’re excited to have teams from all across the country make it to central Florida for a top-tier clay court event. We look forward to facing players from USC, last year’s national champion, and Penn State, teams we normally wouldn’t see in regional tournaments. It truly is a great, national field in this event.”
Thursday’s center court matches and Sunday’s finals, both at the Wide World of Sports, will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com from the on-site production studio. In all, 20 hours of coverage will take place over the weekend. The first match of the tournament, a doubles match-up between Florida State’s 10th-ranked Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez and UCF’s Reece Acree and Francesc Aulina. That match will begin Thursday at 8 a.m.
In singles play, redshirt freshman Jose Gracia, who has already defeated No. 48 Becker O’Shaughnessey of Alabama earlier this season and is 5-3 in singles on the year, will face Petar Tomic of Auburn on ESPN3 no earlier than 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
“My fitness level has improved a ton since the first tournament of the fall,” Gracia said. “I’m more relaxed and keeping my composure, and can raise my game when the moment calls for it.”
All eight Seminoles, including nationally ranked Lock (No. 79) and Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (No. 103), will take the courts at Grand Cypress in first round action of the singles draw beginning no sooner than 11 a.m.
In preparation for the clay court event, the team practiced at Killearn Country Club in Tallahassee. The clay court, different than the hard court that the team normally practices and plays at Florida State, will present an exciting challenge for the players.
“The game’s a little bit different – playing the ball either high or low with slice, and points last longer that require a better use of angles,” Hultquist said. “It causes you to use your head more and work the points and there’s more of a physical nature to it.”
The event is the final fall season event, giving the ‘Noles two months to readjust their games to playing on a hard court surface in time for the dual match spring season.
To keep up with the Seminoles progress at the 2014 Collegiate Clay Court Invitational presented by VISIT FLORIDA, follow on Twitter @FSU_MTennis for FSU results and @2014_CCI for all results as they are completed. For recaps and tournament information, visit Seminoles.com or Facebook.com/FSUMTennis.