Chase Perez-Blanco Chooses the Florida Gators
by Gary Curreri
, 19 August 2013
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Miami's Chase Perez-Blanco enjoys telling jokes, and he can stare without blinking for an hour. But when it comes to tennis, he is all business.
The 17-year-old Perez-Blanco is entering his senior year at Gulliver Prep High School
, and he recently committed to play for the University of Florida
men's tennis team in 2014.
"There were a lot of factors that went into my decision," said Perez-Blanco, who recently captured his first USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championship in singles when he defeated Naples, Florida's Oliver Landert, 6-4; 7-5 in the Boys' 18s finals. The 65th annual tournament was held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs and the Ormond Beach Tennis Center.
"In the end it came down to the University of Miami and the University of Florida. I live walking distance from Miami, and my coach, Eric Hechtman, played for the Hurricanes, so these were some major factors for me to go to school there. Also, I am really close to my family and would love for them to watch me play."
Perez-Blanco said he chose the Gators because he wanted a school that he "could grow at." He was also interested in the University of Texas, University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois.
"In the end," Perez-Blanco said, "I thought coach Brian Shelton and coach Mark Merklein and their tennis team would be the best situation for me to improve as a player and as a person. I chose the University of Florida in hopes of furthering my career."
Perez-Blanco was playing both tennis and baseball when he was eight years old, but he decided it was too much to handle.
"When I was young I always liked playing all the different sports," Perez-Blanco said. "My mom would rush me from a baseball game to a tennis match. She told me I had to choose one because it was too much running around. I chose tennis, and it was definitely the right call."
Perez-Blanco, who also likes to play basketball, said he loves to hit hard - and he finds coming up with strategies of beating opponents who play different styles to be intriguing.
"When I am out on the court, I try to imagine myself in a boxing ring so I never lose the killer instinct," Perez-Blanco said. "Everyone always wants to take someone down with one massive shot, but it doesn't always work like that. Most of the time you need be patient before you go for the knockout shot."