University of Florida freshman men’s tennis player Elliot Orkin has been so good since joining the team, some of the staff at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex have started calling him “superstar.”
Orkin’s favorite tennis player is Rafael Nadal, but he follows other sports as well. He also keeps up with the Atlanta Falcons. His hometown of Marietta, Georgia, is one of Atlanta’s largest suburbs.
He chose to come to Gainesville because UF was his dream school. Since coming to Florida, older players and coaches have become role models, both on and off the court.
At only 5’7″, Orkin is the shortest member of the Gators’ tennis team by three inches. But, his height hasn’t been a handicap because of his playing style.
“I wasn’t going to be able to win by hitting huge serves and destroying people off the court,” he said. ”So, I would have to hit a bigger ball. Over the years I’ve found ways to do that and beat players that are bigger than me.”
At the ITA Southeast Regional in Atlanta in mid-October, Orkin made the semifinals in both the singles and doubles category. In singles, he beat the No. 1 player on both the Florida State and Miami squads. Alongside teammate Gordon Watson, the pair defeated the duo of Dominic Cotrone and Blake Davis of FSU; the Seminoles team was ranked No. 12 at the end of the year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Heading into the spring season, Orkin believes UF has the potential to win the Southeastern Conference championship even though he believes the SEC is the best conference for tennis.
Past the SEC, Orkin thinks the team can make it to Athens, Georgia, where the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament play for the national championship.