Player is currently in 8th grade with about a 5.5 utr looking to play college tennis. Also, that’s amazing that a 16 yr old would be able to play in futures after starting so late.How old is the player now? Is the player aiming to play college tennis? If so, the player may have <4 years. In normal non pandemic years, many players verbally committed to schools the spring of their junior year or early fall of their senior year-the later commits were often preferred walk-ons-no athletic $ or guys with small scholarships.
Yet there are players who make big jumps. There was a young man who played low level HS tennis, that fell in love with tennis, convinced his mom to move to Florida somewhere between age 16 and 18, and actually earned a few ATP points. He was on a local tennis ladder in fall 2010 as a HS soph ranked below 10 and 11y/os . There was no UTR at the time but he was probably in the UTR 5-7 range. By summer of 2016 (if not before-first I can find his UTR), he was a UTR 12-a jump of 5-7 in less than 6 years. By March 2018, he hit UTR 13. However this young man did not go to college. He went down to Florida, trained and played like crazy and coached/Ubered in between tourneys for his expenses. His whole life was tennis-too bad he didnt get serious about it until 16-with an earlier start, he probably could have played some level of college tennis. I think he first picked up a racquet at 14, but didnt play HS until 16.
I remember talking to his mom because I was a volunteer on the ladder, and it was hard to find him matches because he didnt live near other players, and he was a HS player at a 6-7th grade level of play. Years later he practiced with my son at a Futures (my son mentioned him to me as the guy called him to hit when he was in our city). Son didnt remember him as he'd been one of the 11yos. I looked him up and saw he had a couple of points from 15ks outside the US-never would has guessed it from him. He peaked in 2019 at about 1400 ATP, but he will now probably have a career he enjoys coaching tennis.
The key though is with a late start to catch up, tennis and academics will have to be the main focus. Most guys who want to play college tennis, by the time fall of HS senior year rolls around, they have 6-7 years of regular play and tournaments. Hard to make up that ground in 4 years-you can't double the hours without risking injuries or burnout. However if a player is athletic, disciplined, and passionate about the sports with the right coach, he/she can make great improvements. I have also seen players who were very smart, homeschooled for 6 years to train 5-6 hours a day for tennis, loved the game, had parents who could afford the best coaches, put in the work, and still couldn't quite get to the level to play at the schools they wanted to attend-not even as a walk-on. Some of those quit the sport-others played club. One became a hitting partner/volunteer coach for the women's team at his college.
It's great he won a few ATP points but he was 4-15 in main draw at 15Ks with wins in tourneys in Cancun, Zimbabwe, and Central America with a few more wins in dubs. However, it is an accomplishment just to get in main draw of Futures, especially those in US or Europe. This player played some Futures main draws in Florida but didnt win any matches. I think he won his first Future main draw match at age 22.Player is currently in 8th grade with about a 5.5 utr looking to play college tennis. Also, that’s amazing that a 16 yr old would be able to play in futures after starting so late.
I am pretty sure if you take a 12 years old Jordan Spieth or Brooks Koepka and train them hard, they will go from UTR 0 to UTR 12+ in four years. Unfortunately, there aren't that many Jordan Spieth or Brooks Koepka around to begin with.Very possible... depends on multiple factors:
1) Finances to train heavily for the next 4 years
2) Desire/Athletic Ability/Commitment from the player to improve and work on fitness
3) Current Stroke production (holes in the technique, coordiation, speed, etc)
4) Intangibles (Something people never talk about but highly important)
This is an interesting post but definitely not impossible to achieve. Can be done with anyone from the ages of 12-35 IMO.
Compete compete compete. If that's in tournaments, high school tennis, JTT tennis, anything just the more matchplay you introduce early on the better. Mindset is also super important, I have a friend at the Academy I went too who started competing late (always played tennis with family but played soccer as her main sport), and I have watched her ranking explode this last year. I would say the secret to her success was just an incredibly good mindset!Player is currently in 8th grade with about a 5.5 utr looking to play college tennis. Also, that’s amazing that a 16 yr old would be able to play in futures after starting so late.
As a matter of fact, there's only one Spieth and one Koepka.I am pretty sure if you take a 12 years old Jordan Spieth or Brooks Koepka and train them hard, they will go from UTR 0 to UTR 12+ in four years. Unfortunately, there aren't that many Jordan Spieth or Brooks Koepka around to begin with.
The point is that if you put a tennis racquet into the hand of athletes like Speith or Koepka, they will excel from UTR 0 to UTR 12+ in four years, may be less.As a matter of fact, there's only one Spieth and one Koepka.
It would have been a huge mistake to replace golf clubs with tennis racquets for Spieth or Koepka when they were 12 y.o.