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Countdown: Hamburg Heads to Gophers

Jack Hamburg describes himself as "a guy from nowhere in South Dakota," but he's certainly been recognized in the world of tennis. This 10-time state high school champion is getting ready to bring his skills a bit further east when he joins the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fall.

Rapid City, South Dakota, is where 17-year-old Jack Hamburg has grown up. He started playing tennis around age eight, after spending a lot of time around the courts with a mother who has served on the USTA Northern Board of Directors. Although Hamburg didn't immediately decide that he wanted to put all his effort into becoming a tennis player, he's always enjoyed sports, including mountain skiing, rock climbing and hiking. His natural talent put him in the top 100 all through the USTA age brackets. It was not an easy feat for a kid who lived hundreds of miles from his closest competition and every national junior tournament.

There were no international competitions in this Midwesterner's life, "I've never played any ITF tournaments," he said, "It costs a lot of money to compete and travel from South Dakota, so we've always had to really pick and choose carefully where and when I play." One place that Hamburg found competitive play was in high school tennis, where he still dominated. He began playing for Stevens High School while in seventh grade and has won five singles and five doubles state championships while there. At the end of the 2010 season, Jack Hamburg had collected a 111-1 record.

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