Florida Men's Tennis Signs Four in 2013 Class
University of Florida men’s tennis head coach Bryan Shelton has signed his first class as the new head coach of the Gators. Four student-athletes signed their National Letters of Intent this week during the early signing period.
Coach Shelton’s first class includes three American juniors ranked in the top 35 nationally and one international, Diego Hidalgo from Ecuador. Maxx Lipman from Brentwood, Tenn., Elliott Orkin from Marietta, Ga., and Josh Wardell from Fort Myers, Fla., all plan to enroll for the 2013-14 academic year. Hidalgo plans to join the Gators in January.
“We are so happy to have Maxx, Elliott, Josh and Diego join our Gator family,” said Coach Shelton. “These guys who make up our first recruiting class will help us take this program to another level. Each of these young men is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead here in Gainesville. This class is very talented, but I am most excited with the work ethic and toughness that this class will bring to the Gators. These four understand that our goals include being in a position to win championships and they are willing to do the work to make that a reality. Our coaching staff realizes that it takes tough and talented players to get the job done and these guys will certainly help us get the job done here at the University of Florida.”
Diego Hidalgo (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
· Finished the 2011 season ranked No. 22 in the International Tennis Federation Boys rankings and reached as high as No. 16
· Has a career high ATP ranking of 767
· Reached the quarterfinals of the Argentina F18 Futures event in July
· Reached the quarters of the Brazil F13 Futures event in June
· Reached the quarters of the Chile F7 Futures event in June
· Reached the semifinals of the Chile F6 Futures event
Coach Shelton on Diego:
“Diego has had much success internationally and at one point was ranked in the top 15 in the world in junior tennis. Diego is an extremely gifted player that can hurt you in a variety of ways. Diego is a lefty who will make life difficult for all his opponents. Diego is determined and isn’t afraid of hard work. He will be an impact player immediately and will help our doubles by giving us another lefty and righty combination. Fans are going to want to come watch this guy compete for the Gators.”
Maxx Lipman (Brentwood, Tenn.)
· Former No. 1 ranked junior player
· Blue Chip recruit and the No. 22 player nationally on TennisRecruiting.net
· Overall record of 28-14 in junior tournaments since Nov. 2011
· Lipman’s coach, Bill Tym, played at Florida (1961-64) and coached Shelton while he was a junior player growing up in Alabama
· Mother, Lisa, played at Vanderbilt in the early 1980s
· Father, Howard
· Brother, Ryan, plays at Vanderbilt
· Ranked No. 1 nationally in 16s before back injuries kept him out of tournaments for a span totaling 18 months
· Won the USTA Boys 18 International Grass Court Championships
· Homeschooled 4th-7th grade
· After returning from the back injury, had wins over top-20 players Becker O’Shaughnessey and John Richmond
· Beat two top-30 players at the USTA Clay Court Nationals
Coach Shelton on Maxx:
“Maxx is an exciting all-court player that has the ability to make any shot. We are excited about his skill set, which will be a huge asset in both singles and doubles for the Gators. Personally, I could not be happier with this signing as my former coach and mentor, Bill Tym, has taught Maxx for many years. Coach Tym is a former All-American here at UF. I’m sure Maxx will enjoy following in those footsteps. It will certainly make for a smooth transition.”
Elliott Orkin (Marietta, Ga.)
· Blue Chip recruit ranked No. 11 nationally
· Has posted a 71-22 record in the past year in junior tournaments
· Won the Boys 18 title at the Georgia State Qualifying Tennis Championships
· Won USTA Regional Tournament in Norcross, Ga.
· Reached the final of the Southern BG18 in Mobile, Ala.
· Reached the final of the Southern Spring Championships in Mobile, Ala.
· Reached the final of the Bullfrog Southern BG18-16 in Norcross, Ga.
· Reached the semifinals of the USTA National Open in Tampa, Fla.
· Reached the semifinals of the Bullfrog USTA Southern BG18-6 in Ridgeland, Miss.
· Reached the quarterfinals at the USTA National Open in Lexington, Kty.
Coach Shelton on Elliott:
“Elliott is a player that will suffocate you with his speed and mental toughness. I love his ability to compete at a very high level in all conditions. Elliott is not going to back down to anyone and I believe he will evolve into a leader for our program. Elliott has had much success at the national level and is a longtime Gator fan, so his transition here will be seamless.”
Josh Wardell (Fort Myers, Fla.)
· No. 35 nationally and a 5-star recruit from TennisRecruiting.net
· Reached as high as No. 2 in the state of Florida in Boys 16s and No. 4 in Florida in Boys 18s
· Overall record of 28-9 in junior tournaments since Nov. 2011
· Brother, Richard, played tennis for William and mary
· Brother, Michael, plays for Auburn
· Coached by Mario Fratangelo from 8th grade through junior year and currently coached by Martin Van Daalen
· Runner-up singles finish at the Pensacola National Open in 2010
· Second place in doubles at the National Open in Augusta, Ga., in 2010
· Runner-up doubles finish at the Tampa National Open in 2011
· Second place doubles finish in Florida State Closed in 2011
· Finished fourth in singles at the Florida State Closed in 2011
· His parents, Mark and Linda, are from New Zealand
· Josh was born in England but grew up in the United States. Recently became a U.S. citizen.
· Has had to overcome several injuries (double stress fracture in back, elbow tendinitis, torn meniscus) over the past few years and was not completely healthy until October of this year
Coach Shelton on Josh:
“Josh is a very dynamic player. We consider Josh to be one of the best ball-strikers in his class. When the ball comes off his racquet it sounds like a cannon going off. The day to day sparring with his teammates here, the competitive opportunities and coaching are going to elevate his game and confidence to new levels. Josh is a blue-collar worker and his desire to play at the highest level is very evident. We love his passion for the game.”