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Rock Hill Sending Advanced Team to Jr. Team Tennis State Championships for First Time

For the first time, Rock Hill will be sending an 18 and under advanced team, the most competitive division, to the USTA South Carolina Jr. Team Tennis State Championships, which will take place July 18-20 in Florence.

Rock Hill’s advanced team, coached by Tiago Ruffoni, is a very young team with only one 18-year- old player.
Ruffoni considers his team to be a “transition team,” with four of its six members under the age of 16. He doesn’t know what the competition will look like, but he is more focused on the experience than the results.

Most of the team are first-time JTT players and are not familiar with the team aspect of tennis. “They are used to doing things on their own but now they will be doing them together. They have to be in the mindset of ‘This is for the team. We are doing what’s best for the team,’” Ruffoni said.

He tried to motivate the team to want to qualify for the JTT state championships by explaining the benefits, such as team spirit, the team environment, and pushing each other to perform their best. Going to the championships will also be a learning experience for the team, as they have to learn to support one another, respect their team members and others, and learn how to be team players.

“The JTT State Championships are a great event to get the players together doing something that’s different than their individual schedules,” he said.

The team plays all yearlong and has been participating in clinics three days a week at the Rock Hill Tennis Center to prepare for the championships.

Ruffoni and his team are excited to go to the championships together, hang out with one another, and support each other. The players view it as a “big party” where they get to play together and compete.