Countdown: Newman to Continue Comeback at Florida
by Joshua Rey, 28 October 2010
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When it comes to tennis, expect the unexpected. Just ask blue-chip recruit Spencer Newman.
Newman, then just a hair above 5' tall, moved from Miami to Boca Raton in the fall of 2007 with aspirations of playing professional tennis. The switch, intended to help Newman practice at the USTA Training Center, actually hindered his on-court progress. He enrolled at a boarding school with operating hours that conflicted with his tennis schedule, limiting him to just 30 minutes of practice per week.
How Newman reached the finals of the 2007 Eddie Herr
and Junior Orange Bowl
International Championships remains a mystery to him.
"In the three months leading up to the Orange Bowl, I actually hadn't really played tennis," said Newman. "I took that semester off, but not by choice. Then I went out and played some of the best tennis of my junior career."
Following his run at the Junior Orange Bowl, Newman enrolled in Kaplan Online High School, affording him the opportunity to train and travel as he wished. With his schooling dilemma finally settled, Newman built on his momentum as he bumped up to the Boys' 16s circuit. He upset No. 1 seed Harry Fowler at the 2008 USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., and teamed with Shane Vinsant to win the 2009 International Spring Championships doubles title. A week later, the fleet-footed Floridian swept 10 straight sets to reach the Easter Bowl semifinals.
Newman's goals - to represent the U.S. on the Junior Davis Cup team and at the Grand Slams - were on the horizon. But in the flick of a lob, they were gone.
Playing Marcos Giron in the Easter Bowl semifinals, Newman elevated for a high volley, but heard more than the ball meeting his strings. A snap in his left leg was later revealed to be a fracture of the tibial plateau. During surgery, two screws were inserted between Newman's knee and shin.