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Kentucky men’s tennis defeats Florida Gators 6-1

Sydney Yonker
Kentucky fifth year Taha Baadi celebrates during the Kentucky vs Notre Dame mens tennis match on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

No. 5 Kentucky men’s tennis took down the Florida Gators 6-1 on Friday, March 8, inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. 

Florida, who holds a 20-7 all-time record over Kentucky, has not beat the Wildcats since the 2021-2022 season. 

Kentucky started SEC play 3-0, and has continued to brush past its inner conference opponents.

Here are the Wildcats that stood out in their tenth home victory of the season. 


Fifth-year Taha Baadi, who hasn’t played doubles since the Feb. 11 loss at Duke, has had time to focus solely on singles. 

Since this change, Baadi has moved from the No. 27 singles player in the country to No. 21  and has gone 2-1, with two unfinished matches and two ranked wins. 

Against Florida, Baadi won his second ranked match against No. 97 Jeremy Jin. 

Despite winning his first set 6-2, Baadi found himself in a hole to start the second set, trailing 3-0 to Jin. 

However, with the help of the Big Blue Nation and his energy, Baadi tied the match 4-4, going on to force a tiebreaker and earn Kentucky’s third point of the match.

If Baadi would’ve lost the second set, Florida would have been close to tying up the game and upsetting the No. 5 Wildcats. 

Baadi was vocal about the fans, giving them the credit for his comeback.

”That’s just the blessing of playing at home,” Baadi said. “They gave me the energy I needed and it played a big part.”

With Kentucky’s away stretch approaching, Baadi claims they are ready.

“This is when you have to connect with each other and without the crowd, it’ll be just me and my teammates out there,” Baadi said. “I think if we’re heading in with the right mindset, anything is possible with this team.”

GRACE BRYDGES – Jaden Weekes 

Sophomore Jaden Weekes has been on a roll with a 3-match winning streak in singles during conference play. 

The first player to receive a singles point on Friday was Weekes. He beat his opponent Adhithya Ganesan with a straight set win of 6-1, 6-1. 

At the start of the season, Weekes started the season coming off an injury in the fall. Weekes had a record of 4-3 in regular game play and now has a 7-3 winning record.

Weekes stayed confident and reassured himself he could get back into winning games. 

I stayed positive and I knew my game was coming match by match,” Weekes said. “And my peak time was to play for the SEC and play for the team and hopefully compete for a title. That was a good start right now and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Staying focused and assertive against his Florida opponent kept Weekes ahead with flawless gameplay.

Keep being aggressive, keep playing my game,” Weekes said. “No matter how you play, if you play bad, if you play good. Just keep committing to your game style. So I think that I committed and I executed really well today and hopefully I can keep that up again. And then next matches.”

Next up, the Wildcats will begin their two-game road streak, where they will take on the LSU Tigers on Friday, March 15, followed by Mississippi State on Sunday, March 17. 

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