Florida State men’s tennis shows it’s one of the best teams in the NCAA

Florida State men’s tennis – past and present – has much to celebrate.

In back-to-back weekends last month in Tallahassee, junior Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc earned a bid for the ITA Fall Championships in California and former Seminole Alex Knaff won his first pro singles title. in a place he calls his second home.

Both players have embraced their journeys.

Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc watched, learned and listened last year while he was absent due to NCAA graduation rules. He also focused on improving his skills and conditioning during training.

While Cornut-Chauvinc, from France, admitted it was hard not to be on the pitch with his Seminole teammates, he is certainly making an impact this season.

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Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc on a roll

Cornut-Chauvinc qualified for the semifinals of the ITA Fall Championships in San Diego last week. The powerful 6-foot-2 right-hander won three games before falling in straight sets (6-2, 1-6, 6-2) to No. 3 seed Nishesh Basavareddy of Stanford.

Cornut-Chauvinc qualified for the ITA Fall Championships by advancing to the singles final of the ITA Southeast Regional Championships last month at FSU’s Scott Speicher Memorial Tennis Center.

Two weeks earlier, he advanced to the singles round of 16 at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I think he’s as good as anybody in the country,” FSU coach Dwayne Hutlquist said. “He’s got a big serve, big forehand and moves really well for his size. He really likes the process of play.”

It can also be seen.

Cornut-Chauvinc has beaten six ranked opponents and posted a 13-3 singles record this fall. All three losses were suffered by the eventual champion of each tournament.

Cornut-Chauvinc, who came through the French Federation and has the highest Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR) of any rookie who signed with a college program in 2021, says he continues to learn college tennis. He relies on his big serve and pressure on his opponents.

“You don’t just win for yourself, you win for the team,” Cornut-Chauvinc said. “The approach to games is different but it’s quite exciting. I really like the FSU campus, it’s beautiful. It’s (the university) a big change in your daily life, but I really appreciate it.”

FSU's Alex Knaff serves the ball against Alabama State during the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center on Friday, May 11, 2018.

Alex Knaff Embraces Return to FSU

Knaff, meanwhile, won his first professional singles title at the Tallahassee U15 Pro Tournament. The event was hosted at the FSU Indoor Tennis Center and Knaff became the first Seminole to win the tournament.

“It was really exciting and I was proud to win my first professional title in a place that I consider my second home,” Knaff said. “Seeing that growth and hard work eventually pay off, it’s nice to be rewarded.”

Knaff, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, got through the first two rounds.

He picked up straight-set wins over Kosuke Ogura and Marcus McDaniel, followed by victory over his doubles tournament partner and fellow Seminole Cornut-Chauvinc in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, Knaff defeated Georgian Philip Henning in a tiebreaker to advance to the final.

Knaff, 24, captured the title with a straight-set victory, winning 6-3, 6-0, over William Grant.

While at FSU, Knaff – hailing from his native Luxembourg – went 56-45 in singles and 56-37 in doubles and was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2019. Since entering the pro scene, Knaff won three doubles titles. and represented Luxembourg at the Davis Cup.

“Tennis is a game with such small margins,” Knaff said.

“Looking at the stats (from the U15 Tallahassee tournament), other players have actually earned more points than me. Those kinds of things show that sometimes it’s so tight and the details – the mental side, the physical preparation.

“It was great to be back in Tallahassee. I had a lot of support that pushed me. I felt a little nervous at first because I wanted to do so well. It was great to to be back and see everyone. It was like I just arrived (for college), what happened?

“It’s going so fast.”

Contact Jim Henry at [email protected]

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