Prince Hot 100 List - February '10
by Amelia Thomas, 15 February 2010
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As junior tennis players got back into their regular school routines after winter break, they took hold of their tennis schedules as well. The only difference was, many players stepped up their game higher than before. We checked in with a few of those recruits.
The Prince Hot 100 lists are published each month, and the February Hot 100 Lists feature the one hundred boys and girls who most improved their ranking during the month of January. You can find out more about the Prince Hot 100 - and how the lists are calculated - by reading here.
The very latest lists, published earlier today, are available here:
We talked with a few of these top-performing athletes...
Max McLean (St. Louis, Mo.)
17 year-old junior Max McLean reached his highest lifetime ranking this past month, jumping ahead 160 spots. After winning back-to-back titles in St. Louis, McLean made it to the quarterfinals of the USTA Missouri Valley Sectionals before he was defeated by five-star Christopher Haworth.
McLean's best win was against third-seeded and four-star recruit Paul Nahon at the USTA Sectional tournament in Tulsa, Okl. After splitting the first two sets, McLean won the match in an exciting 11-9 tiebreaker.
"In the match tiebreaker, I was down 9-7, but I figured if I just played smart I could pull it out. It was my twenty-first straight win in eighteens," McLean said.
Six-foot McLean credits challenging himself for his recent success. "My coach, Buddy Strawn, and I "serve'em up" and play sets a lot," McLean said. "However, as I have closed the gap between his level and mine he has set up additional practice matches for me with other even better area men like Rob Randall."
While other players get caught up in the competitive aspects of the game, McLean says he attempts to have a cool mentality while he plays. "I have a very even-keel demeanor," McLean said. "I just don't seem to feel the pressure so I kind of play with 'no fear.'"
The St. Louis native's mother, Tracy McLean, agrees that her son is a very levelheaded player. "We have always been proud of how Max behaves on the court. Over the years we have had parents and coaches compliment him on his competitive but gentlemanly play," she said. "During the Edwardsville II Futures in July, Max was awarded the Sportsmanship Award, which has as much meaning to us as the first place win he achieved."
Other than his courteous play, McLean says his strength is in his forehand. "My forehand is my weapon and my serve is on the verge of becoming one too. I am hitting it around 115 mph right now," McLean said.
McLean has new aspirations after experiencing last month's success. "I have yet to be seeded in a tournament - I hope this will help."