UF Men’s Tennis: Crawford to Pursue Pro Career, Signs with GSE Worldwide

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Junior Oliver Crawford will forego senior year after signing with GSE Worldwide to pursue professional tennis career.

University of Florida men’s tennis standout and captain Oliver Crawford has chosen to forego his final year with the Gators to pursue and begin his professional tennis career after signing with GSE Worldwide, a leading athlete representation and sport marketing firm. 

“I was inspired by a sporting heritage that includes national champions, world class athletes, and the daily challenge to do your best,” said Crawford of his time at Florida. “I just wanted to add to the legacy and be part of the story. There is no better place than this.”

An immediate contributor since he stepped foot on campus, Crawford, a three-time ITA All-American and two-time First Team All-SEC selection, concludes his career at UF with 125 overall combined wins, including 63 singles wins and 62 doubles wins overall. Holding a plethora of high rankings throughout his career in both singles and doubles, Crawford holds impressive career dual marks of 44-16 in singles and 44-13 in doubles, including career SEC records of 23-5 and 19-3 respectively. 

“It has been a real privilege to be able to coach Oliver over the past three seasons,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “I speak for Coach Stump, Coach Perelman, our staff, and all of our players and fans. Oliver delivered time and time again and was always up for the challenge. Oliver pushed our program forward with his leadership and his positive energy.”

“While we will certainly miss Oliver next season, I can’t wait to watch him continue to break through at the professional level and live out his dream! Oliver was built for this and I know he will reach all of his goals!”

Crawford went 11-4 overall in singles and 13-3 in doubles for the 2019-20 season to earn ITA All-American singles and doubles recognition. Ranked as high as No. 3 throughout the fall, the Spartanburg, S.C. native compiled an 8-3 dual singles record at the top spot, including a 6-2 mark over ranked opponents, and 3-1 record in SEC play. Crawford and co-captain Sam Riffice went 9-2 together at the top spot for the Gators, finishing 3-0 in SEC play, as the pair opened the season on a six-match win streak that included a top-five win over Columbia’s Jack Lin and Jackie Tang. The tandem reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 prior to finishing ranked No. 14, as the duo also won the consolation doubles draw of the ITA All-American Championships in the fall.

During his sophomore season in 2019, Crawford was significant in the Gators’ NCAA Final Four run as he played all 29 matches at the No. 1 singles position and amassed a 16-8 record, while recording 14 wins over nationally ranked opponents, including a three-set victory over then-No. 2 and defending singles national champion Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest in Florida’s 5-2 win over the No. 2 Demon Deacons. He earned the No. 8 seed at the NCAA Singles Championships, advanced to the Sweet 16, and was named an ITA All-American for the first time in his career. Crawford went 9-3 in SEC singles and 8-3 in SEC doubles, while concluding the season with 25 singles wins and 23 doubles wins, in which he reached and finished the season with a singles ranking of No. 7 (No. 1 in the ITA Southeast Region). Crawford received First Team All-SEC, SEC All-Tournament Team, NCAA All-Tournament Team and SEC Community Service Team honors, while also going on to be named the ITA Southeast Region and National Player to Watch. 

Additionally, in the fall, he had earned a spot on Team USA for the Master’U BNP Paribas, in which USA won the championship.

His freshman year in 2018, Crawford held a 20-5 singles record with a 19-5 doubles record, while going 11-1 in SEC singles and undefeated (8-0) in SEC doubles. Tabbed the ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year and 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year, along with All-SEC First Team & All-Freshman team recognition, Crawford was a perfect 10-0 at No. 3 singles and 4-0 at No. 1 singles. He tied for the team-best in matches clinched (5), including the wins over Georgia and No. 1 Wake Forest. Crawford was 7-4 against nationally ranked opponents, including an upset victory over No. 5 Patrick Kypson in the NCAA Elite Eight. He and Chase Perez-Blanco combined for 23 doubles wins, which is tied for eighth most in program history, while Crawford also competed in the singles of the NCAA Individual Championships to conclude his rookie season.