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UF Men’s Tennis: Gators Lead Nation with Five ITA All-American Honors

Duarte Vale, Oliver Crawford and Sam Riffice (left to right)

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Gators Lead Nation with Five ITA All-American Honors

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) continued its longstanding tradition of awarding student-athletes for their outstanding performance on the court, announcing the 2020 ITA Division I Men’s All-Americans on Tuesday morning. The Gators led the nation with five ITA All-American honors: co-captains Oliver Crawford and Sam Riffice were both named All-Americans in singles and doubles, while junior Duarte Vale was tabbed an All-American in singles.

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Florida and North Carolina led the way, earning five All-American awards each, while the SEC has the most All-Americans by conference (13).

The 2020 ITA All-Americans were named after a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 20 singles players and 10 doubles pairs were awarded the prestigious honor.

Junior Oliver Crawford now holds a total of three All-American honors for his career, notching his first All-American doubles honor while adding singles honors from 2019. Crawford went 11-4 overall in singles and 13-3 in doubles for the 2019-20 season. 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 clinched two matches for the Gators this season (UCF, Columbia), while additionally earning Division I UTR/ITA National Player of the Week honors on Mar. 3 for his solid performance throughout the season.

Identical to Crawford, sophomore Sam Riffice also now holds three All-American honors, adding both singles and doubles honors to his All-American singles nod from 2019. Riffice produced a solid sophomore campaign prior to the season’s end, finishing 16-4 overall in singles and 14-3 in doubles. In the fall, the Orlando, Fla. native reached the singles finals of the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., becoming the first Gator to finish national runner-up since Daniel Courcol in 1992. Riffice reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 throughout the dual season, recording an 11-3 record in singles, with a 9-2 mark at the No. 2 position and 3-1 record through SEC competition. Additionally, the sophomore clinched three matches for the Gators this season (Stetson, Illinois, Auburn).

Crawford and 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 – who were also named ITA All-Americans. The tandem reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 prior to finishing ranked No. 14, and the duo also won the consolation doubles draw of the ITA All-American Championships in the fall.

Junior Duarte Vale snags ITA All-American singles honors for the first time in his career after posting a team-high 27 overall singles wins (27-4), while finishing the season with an impressive 14-2 dual singles record and 4-0 in SEC competition. The junior now holds two All-American honors for his career, earning All-American doubles honors in 2018. Vale asserted his singles dominance from the very beginning of the 2019-20 season; the Cascais, Portugal native won three consecutive singles titles in the fall at the Seahawk Invite, Southern Intercollegiate Championships, and ITA Southeast Regional Championships. Ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation in singles, Vale carried his performance into the spring, tallying a 10-2 mark at the No. 3 position while holding a 4-1 record over ranked opponents. Vale was key in a number of matches for UF, including clinching the Gators’ comeback win over then-No. 6 Wake Forest at ITA National Team Indoors in Madison, Wis.