Hot 100 List - April '17
by Amelia Thomas, 21 April 2017
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As Spring Signing Week fades in the rearview mirror, Tennis Recruiting is getting back to its normal content. Today we bring you a regular monthly feature that we have since the beginning - the April edition of the Hot 100.
Our Hot 100 lists are published each month, and the April Hot 100 lists feature the one hundred boys and girls who most improved their rankings during the month of March. You can find out more about the Hot 100 - and how the lists are calculated - by reading here.
The latest lists, published earlier this week, are available here:
Let's take a look at some of these top performers ...
Keegan McCain (Austin, Texas)
Three-star sophomore Keegan McCain comes from a family of competitive tennis players. Her mother, Patty Fendick-McCain, is a former WTA Tour Player and NCAA Champion from Stanford University. Her father, Scott McCain, is a former ATP Tour Player and was the number one ranked player in the College Rankings while at the University of California.
Scott McCain is also a USTA High Performance Coach and has put over 60 players into the top 100 ATP Tour. He now owns and runs ATX D1 Tennis
in Austin, Texas, where he coaches his daughter.
Family support has been a major influence on McCain's game. "Being coached by both my mom and my dad, who were great players and are great coaches, helped me get better much faster," she said.
McCain also credits her vast amount of time on the court for her growth over recent months. In addition to training at her father's junior academy, she practices extra mornings with teammates on her team at Westlake High School.
"We have a lot of really highly-ranked players on my high school team - guys and girls - so the extra practices are amazing because we push each other to get better," she said. "I hate to lose, and this has motivated me to work harder. I realized not only could I compete with the better players, I could beat them if I focused hard and played my game effectively."
With this competitive spirit, McCain puts a lot of emphasis on her wins. She named her "favorite" win of last month as one over a player that has badly beaten her before, four-star Charli Delmonico. McCain beat Delmonico to cinch the finals of the ATA College Prep Spring Open.
McCain's self-proclaimed "best" recent win, however, was against five-star Emma Staker earlier this month. Staker was the second seed, and McCain defeated her in the first round of the Austin Super Championship Major Zone, 6-3; 6-4
"I focused hard on her weaknesses and fought for every point. We had several long deuce games, and it was such a mental battle," McCain said. "I toughed out those games by adjusting when I saw that she was missing some of her stronger shots. She is a really good player, and I was happy I was able to tough out that win." McCain reached the semifinals before retiring due to injury.
Also in March, McCain reached the consolation finals of the Echometer Super Championship. She earned an 8-2 record for the month and jumped almost 30 spots up in the Class Rankings.
McCain has also enjoyed considerable success in doubles tennis. She competes with blue-chip 8th-grader Savanna Broadus, with whom she has won several SCMZ Tournaments, and four-star sophomore Shauna Galvin.
"I have been playing really good doubles this year," McCain said. "I really like to play doubles because it's great to have someone out there fighting with me."
Taylor Andersen (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
Four-star freshman Taylor Andersen credits her consistent focus for her success over the past few months.
She works with coach Steve Wright of the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club
. Recently, they have been paying particular attention to her serve and volley.
"It takes longer for a net game to mature than a baseline game, so that's always an ongoing focus for me," she said. "We're also just working on my variety, improving shots like my slice backhand. My fitness has also really improved over the last year, and I've seen a big difference in my power and endurance."
The five-foot-nine player's parents, Mike and Abbie Andersen, agree that their daughter's net game is one of her strengths. "Taylor's athleticism, height and strength are definitely advantages for her," they said. "She has a big serve and is developing a strong net game. Her groundstrokes have always been good, but lately we've seen the biggest difference in her net game."
All this hard work has not only paid off in results, but in an increase in Andersen's confidence as well. "The skills I've been working on for a long time have started to click and come together," she said. "I still have a long way to go, but now I can visualize that what I'm working on today just keeps building my game and gives me more variety."
Andersen won both tournaments she participated in last month, the Tocoma Lawn End-of-Winter Championships and a Level 4 Tournament at the Vancouver Tennis Center. She went undefeated with an 8-0 record for March.
The Gig Harbor, Wash., native spoke with most pride of her win in the finals of the L4 Tournament. Andersen played blue-chip 7th-grader Katja Wiersholm and lost the first set, 3-6. Down in the second set, Andersen came back, 7-6, and then won the tiebreaker.
"I kept really calm, thought about what I wasn't doing well, and started just going for it with my serves," Andersen said. "I served four aces in a row, and that was the beginning of my comeback. So if I ever feel like I've lost a match before it's really over, I'll remember this match and how I turned it around."
That positive mentality will come in handy as Andersen works toward her goal of playing D-I tennis on the West Coast. "I'd love to play for a program where I can train outside year-round," she said. "If I had to pick today, I'd like to play for a school in the PAC-12 or West Coast Conference."
Brett Finan (Broomfield, Colo.)
Four-star sophomore Brett Finan cites the work of his coach as the catalyst for his recent growth. He works with coach Jevgenij Cariov in Boulder, Colo.
"I credit my improvement to the commitment of my coach," Finan said. "Over the past two months, we have trained every day. My coach inspires me to work hard, and he is committed to my success."
Finan describes himself as an aggressive all-court player with strengths in his serve and forehand. Lately, he and Jevgenig have been working on fine tuning his forehand and his fitness.
Last month alone, Finan leapt up a whopping 32 spots on the Sophomore Class Rankings. He won the Meadow Creek Junior Open and the playoffs of the Muterspaw National Level 3, earning a 9-1 record for the month.
The six-foot-two player named his best match of the month as the playoffs of the Muterspaw Championships. He faced fellow four-star sophomore Ryan Ali for third place.
This was a tough match, not only because of Finan's tough competition, but because of several environmental factors. The two competed amongst wind, rain and a police SWAT team that was called to a nearby house. Several courts were cleared as a precaution. "It was definitely the most exciting match," Finan said.
The Broomfield, Colo. native went down, 2-6, in the first set, but he came back and fought off three match points in the second set. He won the second set in a close tiebreaker, 7-6 (6). Finally, he closed out the third set, 6-3. "It was a hard fought match," he said.
Finan has goals to play tennis in college and recently began researching schools. His parents, Brian and Angela Finan, have high hopes for their son, considering the strong coaching he receives.
"Brett is committed to getting better every day, and he has a talented coach that is devoted to helping him reach his goals," they said "They work hard on all aspects of his game. We are very fortunate."
Ryan Bernstine (Manakin Sabot, Va.)
Four-star sophomore Ryan Bernstine was introduced to tennis through his dad. His father, Mark Bernstine, is a lifelong tennis player and played for Virginia Tech. Ryan Bernstine's older brother, Chase Bernstine, will be attending Virginia Tech this fall to play tennis.
Mark Bernstine now coaches his son at Hermitage Country Club
. Recently, Ryan Bernstine and his father have been working on his mental game, among other skills.
"Right now, I am working on being more consistent but still being aggressive when I need to," the right-handed sophomore said. "I would describe my game as offensive. My biggest strength in my game is my forehand."
Bernstine credits his strengthened mental game for his recent 30-spot jump in the Class Rankings.
"My ranking has gone up this past month because of the work I have been putting into my practices," he said. "This has allowed me to be more confident on the court, which helps me stay calm during tournaments. Most of the credit should go to my mental game. I feel that my mentality has changed the most and caused me to win big matches."
Highlight's of Bernstine's last month of tennis include reaching the finals of the Mid-Atlantic States Championship in Virgina Beach, Va. and winning the Raintree Training Center Classic. In addition to his leap in ranking, he earned a 7-1 record for the month of March.
Bernstine's family has continuously inspired his game, and he hopes to follow in his father's and brother's footsteps.
"Because my dad went to Virginia Tech, and now my brother is going, I have visited Virginia Tech lots of times," he said. "The campus and the environment at Virginia Tech is very cool, and I would love to go there."
Have a look over the Hot 100 lists - and take a look at some of the other players who have stepped up their game.
The next edition of the Hot 100 will be available on May 15, 2017.
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