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Countdown: Morgan Stone Heads to Santa Clara
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Going to University of Georgia Bulldog Tennis Camp for the first time at age nine was the catalyst behind Morgan Stone's realization that he wanted to play college tennis one day. "I was a camper when [John] Isner was there, and I got an opportunity to try and return his serve. But I was about four-foot-nothing, so it kinda just went right over my head."

Morgan Stone has committed to Santa Clara
© Bill Kallenberg, CapturedInAction.com
Even though he was born and raised in Atlanta, Stone committed to play tennis at California's Santa Clara University, part of the West Coast Conference, which seems like a huge move for a Southern guy. He explained that his father was born and raised in Los Angeles, his mother moved there to attend UCLA, and his two older sisters were born there, too. "I've always told my friends that I grew up in the South but was raised in a California household. Our family has always seemed very California-like to me, not Southern so much. And, I think I've always kind of had that California mindset."

When asked whether he ever dreamed about becoming a professional player, Stone took a moment before answering. "I'm not a huge guy, so I was always pretty realistically set on college tennis. I don't think I ever had the aspirations to go pro. My main goal was always to play D-I college tennis."

But Stone wasn't always Division I material. His rankings in the younger age groups were "just okay" but nothing that would catch the attention of a top-tier college coach. It wasn't until he started to mature a bit - he had a six-inch growth spurt between 8th and 10th grades - and began to train more seriously that he realized high-level college tennis was within his reach.

"I've had several coaches during my junior years. My first developmental coach, Noel Wadawu, got me ready for tournament competition. In the beginning of high school, I changed coaches because I realized I was losing matches that I should've won, probably due to needing help with the mental part of my game, and Julius Robberts was a real help in that area. About a year and a half ago, I moved again because I needed a higher level of competition during training which I found at Stephen Diaz's academy. I'm now working out with some of the top players in our section which has been really good for my development."

Stone is playing tennis for his public high school this season. "I had always wanted to play high school tennis, so I played freshman year, but it was taking a lot of time away from my own training, so I decided that, for development and recruiting purposes, it was probably best if I didn't play sophomore or junior year. I told my high school coach that if I committed to a college by the time tennis season came around then I would play again, and, luckily, I did commit to Santa Clara in time for that to happen. I get to play some really good opponents at line 1 and it's a sliver of a glimpse of what college tennis will be like. We can't get as rowdy but we get to cheer on teammates. Getting a state championship ring would be pretty cool!"

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