The Florida Gators men’s tennis team made history early Sunday morning, clinching the first national title in program history by defeating Baylor 4-1 in the NCAA Championship at the USTA National Campus.

Less than 150 miles from the Gators’ home courts in Gainesville, the fourth time was the charm for No. 1-seeded Florida, which in three previous trips to the Final Four, lost in the national semifinals.

Despite dropping the doubles point to the second-seed Baylor Bears and heading into single’s play 0-1, the Gators won four consecutive singles matches (Andy Andrade, Sam Riffice, Josh Goodger, and Ben Shelton) to seal the program’s first national championship. Shelton, the son of Florida coach Bryan Shelton, clinched the title with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 5 singles.

“This team made it so easy. We have the best support staff in the nation and we have the best strength coach, the best athletic trainers, the best coaching staff, the best head coach, the best captains. I mean, unbelievable,” said the freshman after the match. 

“We’ve got a very, very special team for him to be a major part of that,” shared Coach Shelton on his son’s match victory. “It’s really, really cool to see him shine in the biggest on the biggest stage under the lights tonight here at the USTA National Campus. Just really, really proud of him. Proud of our guys.”

Head coach Shelton also made college tennis history, becoming the first head coach to win a women’s national title, when he was at Georgia Tech in 2007, and a men’s national championship.

Singles Competition Results
  1. Duarte Vale (UF) vs. Adrian Boitan (BU) 5-7, 3-4, unfinished
  2. Sam Riffice (UF) def. Matias Soto (BU) 7-5, 6-3 
  3. Andy Andrade (UF) def. Sven Lah (BU) 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 
  4. Blaise Bicknell (UF) vs. Nick Stachowiak (BU) 3-6, 6-4, 1-1, unfinished
  5. Ben Shelton (UF) def. Charlie Broom (BU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 
  6. Josh Goodger (UF) def. Spencer Furman (BU) 6-3, 7-5 
Doubles Competition Results
  1. Sven Lah/Constantin Frantzen (BU) def. Johannes Ingildsen/Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2
  2. Ben Shelton/Sam Riffice (UF) def. Nick Stachowiak/Matias Soto (BU) 6-0
  3. Charlie Broom/Finn Bass (BU) def. Will Grant/Brian Berdusco (UF) 6-1 

With the team championship tournament complete, individual singles and doubles competition is now underway. Florida’s Andrade, Riffice and Vale took to the court for the individual competition less than 24 hours after winning the team’s national championship, and have advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2021 NCAA Singles Tournament. 

For the 2021 NCAA Singles Tournament bracket, click here. For doubles action, click here.

For more Florida Gators tennis news, click here.