Standing a combined 12 feet, eight inches tall and weighing an aggregate of 407 lbs, graduating seniors George Navas and Mike Sroczynski will leave a huge void to fill for the Michigan men’s tennis team (6-1 Big Ten, 10-8 overall).

It’s not just their size that the Wolverines will miss.

Since arriving as blue-chip recruits in 2006, the two athletes have been invaluable to the team, earning 149 and 147 career match victories, respectively.

“They’ve both been integral parts of the success we’ve had,” Michigan coach Bruce Berque said. “Carrying the program back to one that is not only challenging for conference championships, but one that’s also relevant on the national level.

“They’ve also taken ownership in creating the identity that the team is going to need to have in future years to get to the next level, and I’m confident that when they’re done here they will have left the program in better shape than it was when they got here. I think that that’s a nice compliment to them and something they should be really proud of.”

The pair is currently the No. 38 doubles team in the nation and he’s been rotating at the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles spots with the pair of junior Jason Jung and freshman Evan King. After not playing together since freshman year, they are currently an impressive 13-6 against top competition, including a win over the then-No. 20 doubles team in the nation and a tiebreaker loss to the No. 2 tandem.

“It’s weird,” Navas said. “When we were trying to decide what the doubles teams were going to be, I told Bruce (Berque) that I had a gut feeling that me and Mike would be really successful together. I don’t know if it’s because we played together freshman year, but we have pretty good chemistry on the court, we always know what each other is doing.”

Navas, the team captain, has been a mainstay for the Wolverines, primarily at the No. 4 singles spot. He has a 6-1 Big Ten singles record, a huge reason for their success in conference.

Sroczynski, a self-described aggressive baseliner with a big serve, has played mostly at the No. 3 spot and has a 3-4 Big Ten singles record.

Throughout their four-year careers, Navas and Sroczynski have accomplished big things. They were vital parts of Michigan’s Sweet 16 appearance in 2008, a moment that they both acknowledged as the highlight of their college experiences.

Sroczynski was also the 2008 Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional doubles champion, winning the title with Jung.

The two are good friends off the court, despite being polar opposites. They roomed together freshman year, but Navas’s need for cleanliness didn’t exactly mesh well with Mike’s style of living.

“The quality of his living situations are subpar,” Navas said. “In the dorm room, it was pretty disgusting, and I’m a clean person. Not to put it all on Mike, but yeah, it’s pretty much all on Mike. It was just atrocious. Not the cleanest guy in terms of living.

“We’re good friends. Mike is a big goofball, basically. He’s a big guy, and can be intimidating if you don’t know him, but he’s really laid-back and funny.”

Though both Navas and Sroczynski are going to miss the collegiate game and their relationships on the tight-knit seven-man roster, they already have plans for their post-college lives. And like their personalities, their plans are completely different.

Navas, an economics major, will be working for Bank of America in Charlotte, NC.

He made it clear that although he’s loved his time on the tennis team, his experience was about so much more than the tennis, and he’s ready to move on.

But Sroczynski isn’t giving up on tennis just yet.

“My plans for next year as of now are to play.” Sroczynski said. “I think I’m gonna give it a shot, play some tournaments once tennis is done here after I’m done graduating. And just see how it goes, give myself a shot. I figure I’ve put a lot into tennis, and I’d like to continue that after my playing days here are over.”

The two know how important they have been to the resurrection of Michigan tennis, helping turn a team that had missed the NCAA Tournament for several years before they arrived, to one that has now made it five consecutive years.

The two imposing figures — Srocynski is 6-foot-6 and 220 lbs, Navas 6-foot-1 and 187 — will be tough to replace, but they have done everything they can to prepare the team for life without them.

“I want my legacy to be that I helped Bruce develop the program into what he wants to be,” Navas said. “Which is successful year in and year out, good character guys who want to work hard. It’s tough to do that, it’s tough to get to that point, but I think the team is finally there.”

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