Feature: Tommy James in Sophomore Boys Tennis

Image+Courtesy+of+Tommy+James

Image Courtesy of Tommy James

Austin Fewel, Staff Writer

Camas High School (CHS) student, Tommy James, is currently the ninth best sophomore tennis player in Washington. He is also ranked 242nd in the nation. This puts him in the top 0.1% of all sophomore tennis players. 

James started playing tennis when he was just six years old. For the next three years he trained casually, and only started playing in tournaments when he was nine years old. James said that he started playing at such a young age that he does not even remember why he started, just that it was fun and enjoyable. 

Image Courtesy of Tommy James

“One thing I have achieved in tennis is taking sixth at state last year,” James said.

Last year, James played tennis for the school team. He made it all the way to state and ranked sixth place as a freshman. This was an impressive accomplishment because he was playing against all other high school grade levels. 

“I didn’t feel like there was enough time to do both high school tennis, which for the most part is just for fun, and school, which is still priority number one to my parents, and play competitive tennis and continue to improve in that,” James said. 

This year, he did not play tennis for CHS. It took up too much time, and it did not improve his skill enough. He decided instead to start spending even more time training for tournaments and working on his ability to play tennis. 

At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, James started doing a part-time schooling schedule. This means that he is only doing a few classes at CHS. 

“The main reason why I started doing school part-time was to free up more time to play tennis and have a more flexible schedule that allows me to travel to tournaments,” James said.

Image Courtesy of Tommy James

James had to quit the MST Magnet program, a STEM program at CHS because it conflicted with his schedule. This new schedule gave him flexibility when doing his schoolwork. Currently, he spends anywhere from two to six hours a day training for tennis. Although he has only been doing this for a little less than two months, he has already seen minor improvements in his ability to play tennis. 

“My favorite part of tennis is the backward tweener,” said James “I like this shot a lot because when you make it and win the point you feel like you’re the best tennis player in the world.”

The backward tweener is normally performed when facing away from the opponent. It happens when the player does not have enough time to turn around to return a lob and has to hit the ball through their own legs. 

James has been playing tennis his whole life. He loves it and will continue to play for as long as he can. Although he is already quite a good tennis player, he hopes to get better and increase his national tennis rank.