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USTA Plays a Role in Development of College Standouts

October 7, 2013 09:34 AM

By Mario Cuadros

The University of South Carolina currently boasts one of the best doubles teams in the country. The duo of senior Chip Cox, of Myrtle Beach, and junior Kyle Koch, of Irmo, are ranked No. 26 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association pre-season doubles ranking and recently competed in the ITA All-American Championships.

The players said they became successfull the old fashioned way; spending countless hours on the court working on their game and countless more off it working on their fitness.

Chip Cox
Photo courtesy of USC Athletics Media Relations

“I would go out and hit balls with my dad,” Cox said. “He was a big influence on me just being my coach. It was one of the best things about junior tennis for me.”

An important aspect for every developing junior player is to find competition. For both players, USTA sanctioned tournaments became important early in their careers.

“It was a gauge of where I was against other guys in the South,” Koch said. “You might see some guys doing a lot better than you and that just motivates you even more and makes you work that much harder.”

As important as tournaments are, they give you a taste of success only as an individual. In order to incorporate the team aspect of tennis, both players also took advantage of other USTA opportunities, such as Southern Junior Cup. This is a team-format competition comprised of players from all nine Southern States in boys and girls singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

“Southern Cup was one of my favorite things because it got all the players from the South together and created that college atmosphere,” Cox said. “It was very good for individual and team play.”

Koch also incorporated Southern Cup with the high performance camps the USTA offers allowing him to play with the best players in the state.

The team atmosphere they enjoyed while attending the high-performance camps and Southern Junior Cup wasn’t their only experience with team competition. They both began playing high school tennis when they were in middle school, something that not many players of their level are willing to do.

“The competition was actually really good because I was 13 years old and I was playing people who were 18,” Koch said. “Even though I was winning most of my matches, it was still better competition than I was getting on a regular basis.”

Kyle Koch
Photo courtesy of USC Athletics Media Relations
Neither of them would imagine when they were younger that they would be

playing together in college. Cox describes the feeling as “weird” since they have known each other for so long.

It turns out that the first match they played together as juniors was at the Indoor Fieldhouse at the University of South Carolina. “It’s pretty crazy,” Koch said.

Both players have come a long way from their time hitting tennis balls as juniors. They reached this point in their careers with hard work and dedication. They believe that if they were able to do it, anybody can.

“Don’t give up on your dreams,” Koch said. “Even if you don’t have a great coach or a great system, if you want it bad enough and you’re willing to put in the time on court, you can get there.”

Cox shares those sentiments, saying that, “You have to be motivated enough. We did a lot of it by ourselves, so it’s not impossible. As long as you work hard at it every day the sky’s the limit.”

Their head coach, Josh Goffi, has high expectations this season for the duo.

“I think this team has the opportunity to do very well this year,” he said. “What I mean by very well is that they can win NCAA’s and it would be really cool since they’re from the state of South Carolina.”