Prince Hot 100 List - January '14
by Amelia Thomas, 23 January 2014
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With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, tennis can take a backseat for some junior players. Many players, however, took the extra time off from school to amplify their game. We caught up with a few of those athletes in this month's Prince Hot 100.
The Prince Hot 100 lists are published each month, and the January Hot 100 lists feature the one hundred boys and girls who most improved their rankings during the month of December. You can find out more about the Prince Hot 100 - and how the lists are calculated - by reading here.
The latest lists, published today, are now available:
Let's take a look at a few of these players...
Vincent Rettke (Madison, Ala.)
Four-star sophomore Vincent Rettke credits his recent growth to the effort he has been putting into his game with his coaches. He began working with his main coach, Willis Mbandi, two years ago.
"He taught mostly beginners and recreational players, but he taught better than any other coach I've ever trained with," Rettke said. "He taught me a great amount of strategy and improved my groundstrokes and service techniques dramatically."
Rettke also cited work with tennis pro Leron Pressnell as a source of his success. "About a year and a half ago, I started taking a tennis clinic in Athens, Alabama run by Pressnell," Rettke said. "The group didn't have highly-decorated players, but it consisted of many high school students with great potential. His clinic was almost completely about fitness, lasting three hours per session. Though the constant hard work and 100-degree weather was agonizing, it paid off in the long run."
An obstacle Rettke faces is that his hometown is a difficult area to compete in. "I don't have as many high-level players in my area as others," he said. "Despite that, I'm still able to find good competition in my area." He hits with a Division II college player friend to challenge himself.
The lack of opportunities makes tournaments crucial to Rettke's game. "I think Vince gets his best training by simply playing tournaments," said his father, Gordon Rettke. "Vince knew he was playing against good players [last month] and thought he had a fair chance to win some matches, so he got himself excited for the event."
Rettke had the opportunity to compete in two tournaments last month, the Kentucky Junior Indoor Open, where he reached the playoffs, and the Winter Southern Closed Championships, where he won the consolation draw.
The Madison, Alabama-native named the latter tournament as his best of the month. He started strong, but his mental game was tested after he had one win under his belt. Facing four-star sophomore George Lovitt, Rettke lost the first set, 6-7, and won the second, 6-4.
"After that set, I did not think much about winning the third," Rettke said. "Winning one set was better than I expected, and I didn't believe I needed to do any better. During the ten minute break between sets, however, I thought differently. I decided I would do the unimaginable and actually try to win this match." Rettke's mental shift pulled him through the match victorious, taking the third set 7-5.
Gordon Rettke commends his son's positive mental game. "I think that Vincent's strength is his attitude on the court. So far, we only hear compliments from other parents," he said. "He works hard trying to win a match on the court and takes his wins and losses fairly even. Vince loves tennis and has respect for every opponent he plays and makes many friends along the way."