One rising high school freshman will already hold a high school tennis record as he begins the 2011-2012 school year.
Matt Haney was introduced to tennis at age 4 by his father, Terry Haney. For the past 10 years, Terry has taught his son the ins and outs of tennis, preparing him for USTA junior tournaments as well as Union County High School tennis.
Lisa Haney — Matt’s mother — attributes her son’s success thus far to a combination of dedicated teaching and her son’s natural ability.
“Terry played tennis a little, but he did a really good job teaching Matt,” she said. “Matt caught on really quickly.”
Matt competed in his first tournament at age 11, and won his first tournament at age 12. He then joined the UCHS tennis team as a seventh-grader, and last year — as an eighth-grader — he was the only UCHS singles player to finish the season undefeated with an 18-0 record.
Like most young athletes, Haney patterns himself after the professionals.
“My two favorite pros would probably be Roger Federer and Andy Murray,” Haney said.
His reason: simple.
“They’re two of the best in the world,” he said.
While school is out for the summer, Haney will continue to compete in various tournaments in Spartanburg and Greenville. In fact, he already has one win under his belt. Haney won the Boys’ 14 singles division of the 2011 Riverside Tennis Club Junior Clay Court Classic in Greer on June 19.
He is currently preparing for his next tournament, which is slated for July 17 at Spartanburg Athletic Club.
Haney said he is dedicated to tennis, and he plans to pursue the next level.
“I would love to get a tennis scholarship one day,” he said, adding that his preferences at this point are the University of South Carolina and Wofford College.
Haney was asked why he chose tennis above all other popular sports.
“I’ve played football, baseball, basketball and soccer, but tennis has always been my favorite sport,” he said. “It’s what I’m best at.”