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Top-Ranked Players Enjoy Team Aspect of JTT

July 19, 2014 07:38 PM

FLORENCE, S.C. – Alexander Miller is the No. 1-ranked player in the 18-and-under, boys singles division of South Carolina. This fall, he will play collegiate tennis at William & Mary in Virginia.

Yet this weekend, Miller is not on his own, traveling the country and playing in singles matches. He is here, playing tennis with his Rock Hill team during the USTA South Carolina Jr. Team Tennis State Championships.

Miller is among a number of high-level players who are enjoying this weekend’s USTA SC JTT Championships, which are being held at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center. The players, who thrive in singles matches, said they enjoy the rare opportunity to play on a tennis team through USTA SC JTT. The players also said they appreciate the more laidback atmosphere present during the team championships.

At tournaments, they said, the competition can be ultra-competitive and players can feel alone. During team championships, the competition is intense but you have a team in which to rely.

“It helps to have people there to tell you, it’s fine,” Miller said.

Last summer, Miller was playing in tournaments all over at least every other weekend.

His mom or dad would come and support him, but that’s it; everyone else at the tournament would be rooting for someone else.

At USTA Jr. Team Tennis matches, he said, he and his teammates have a dozen or more supporters, including parents. Other teams from around the state also have similar cheering sections this weekend.

Miller also said playing JTT will help prepare him for collegiate team tennis this fall.

The top-ranked players competing with the Lexington Legends said they appreciate playing with, rather than against, people they know.

Katie Thompson of Lexington said she often knows other players at tournaments, “but it’s not like this,” she said, “where they want you to win.”

Thompson played No. 1 on her team at Lexington High School last season.

The Lexington players also said they play USTA JTT because it helps their individual tennis.

Logan Adkins pointed out that players get “ranking points” from playing in the USTA SC JTT Championships. Those points help players move up the standings lists.

The championships, which began Friday evening and conclude Sunday, feature 28 teams and about 220 kids from all over the state. Admission is free.


Alexander Miller of Rock Hill competes in the USTA SC JTT Championships on Saturday.