Tennis coach Carl Goodman has high hopes for the team this year. The Florida A&M men’s tennis team, who went 20-7 last year and knocked out top division schools like Georgia State University, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi and Jacksonville University, are even more confident than last year.
Despite losing four teammates last season, the Rattlers have picked up another recruit, the number one tennis player in the nation on t he Junior College level.
“This is the first time FAMU has ever had a number one recruit, at least in my lifetime,” Goodman said.
The team will need more than a number one recruit to make up for the loss of four players, but is still optimistic.
“I’m expecting a really good season,” said Temuera Asafu-adjaye, a third-year from New Zealand. “We have a really tough schedule but we have a solid team,”
The regular season does not start until January, but the men are preparing themselves with warm-up matches, and are in Jonesborough, Ga. for the 11th annual Clayton County HBCU National Tennis championship this weekend. The team will later return to Tallahassee to match up against the Florida State men’s tennis team.
Next, the team will head to Athens, Ga. for the regional championship at the University of Georgia.
“Right now, the good thing about our team is that we have one senior and five juniors,” Goodman said. “Last year we started immature, and it wasn’t until the end that we saw some maturity. Hopefully this year they are more mature and ready to compete at the highest level.”
The team will play at least seven nationally ranked teams this year. Right now, it is in the ranked in the nation’s top 80 and is second in the MEAC.
“I expect a lot this season. This fall we’re playing a bunch of tournaments so when the season starts we’re going to work,” said junior Chidi Gabriel. “I feel like we’re really solid right now.”