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Winter Nationals
Ankle Injury Doesn't Slow Casper's Run to Boys 16s Title
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Luke Casper nearly pulled out of the USTA Winter National Championships. He injured his ankle and didn’t know if he would be healthy enough to play.

Casper’s father made him go to a clay court near their home in Santa Cruz, California the day before they were scheduled to fly to Florida to test the ankle.

Boys 16 Champion Luke Casper
© Manuela Davies/USTA

“I wanted to see it myself before making the final decision,” Mark Casper said. “It seemed like it was holding up OK.”

Was it ever.

Showing few signs of the injury, the fifth-seeded Casper captured the first gold ball of his career by defeating No. 13 Quinn Snyder 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the Boys 16s singles final at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.

“It felt amazing because I have worked so hard,” Casper said. “My goal has always been to get a gold ball and I finally got one. I had to play very well to do it because I played a lot of good players and I felt like they never gave up, so I always had to have my ‘A’ game.”

Casper navigated a difficult draw on his way to the final. The blue chip sophomore didn’t lose a set and won three tiebreaks in seven matches. Casper beat four seeded players, including No. 1 seed and blue chip freshman Jack Anthrop 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

“I don’t know if a lot was expected of me to win, but I was just really focused for that match (against Anthrop),” said Casper, the middle of seven children whose sister, Caroline, plays at Pomona-Pitzer. “I think having a tougher draw helped me. It gave me a little bit of confidence knowing I could beat all these good players.”

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Page updated on Monday, January 14, 2019
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