Senior Spencer Newman is happy to be back where it all began.
Newman enrolled at the University of Florida in 2011 as a five star tennis recruit hoping to make an immediate impact on the team.
“I’m from Florida and I didn’t really see myself representing any other schools,” said Newman, “The program here is unbelievable and I had known most of the team since I was 9 years old.”
Newman was battling injuries for most of his freshman season, but that did not stop him from posting strong numbers for the Gators.
He finished the season 11-8 in singles play and 1-0 in doubles, earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors on March 30, 2011.
Despite having such strong ties with the team, Newman made the decision to transfer to Michigan in Fall 2012.
“I felt like I wasn’t getting a fair opportunity to play higher in the lineup here,” Newman said. “Plus, I really wanted to play for Mark Merklein.”
Merklein is a former All-American at UF and was an assistant coach at Michigan at the time.
Newman ‘s time with Michigan was short-lived. He only competed in two tournaments for the Wolverines before his body started breaking down. His short stint with Michigan all but ended when he tore his labrum competing for the Wolverines.
He was still battling injuries from his time at Florida.
Newman never fully recovered from a tibial plateau fracture in his right leg.
To top it all off, he was still recovering from a stress fracture in his right wrist – his strong hand.
Newman transferred back to Florida the next semester, but was forced to sit out the season per NCAA regulations.
The mandatory time off was a blessing in disguise for Spencer. He was able to put all his focus into getting healthy. He wanted to return a better, healthier player.
A year has passed. Spencer Newman has high expectations for this year.
Things are looking different this time around. Mark Merklein has since returned to Florida as an assistant coach. Newman feels better than he ever has before.
“I expect our team to do really well this season. This is the deepest team I’ve ever been on. We all can get the job done on the court on any given day,” Newman said.
Newman remembers where he was as a freshman a few years ago. He plans to make the most of his second opportunity in Gainesville.
“I get to play for the program I always wanted to play for, and I get to play for the coach I wanted to play for,” Newman said with a smile on his face. “What more can I ask for? I’m getting the best of both worlds.”
Spencer Newman and the Gators continue their season with one thing on their mind: an SEC championship.