Bryan Wang knew he was the youngest player on his USTA Northern California 14 & Under Intermediate team from San Jose, Calif., but little did he know that he was also the youngest male competitor in the entire 32-team field at the 2013 Jr. Team Tennis National Championships.
When he arrived in Cayce, S.C., on Thursday, he was just 10 years old. On Friday, Wang celebrated his 11th birthday than with a full day of tennis followed by a Jr. Team Tennis Player Social at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Center.
“Nationals has been a really amazing trip for me,” said Wang. “I see the hotels, I see the courts and facilities, and the people – overall it’s just been really cool.This is what I love to do.”
Facing competitors sometimes three years his senior, Wand admits he is at a slight advantage when it comes to speed and power.
“It’s definitely a small disadvantage, but with the right strategy, a big part is the mental game,” said Wang. “You can still win and gain mental advantages. It’s just really cool to have a lot of older kids play along with and against me.”
His experience at Nationals will definitely play in his favor later, added Wang. He said that he’s “still young” and “has time to refine his craft.”
“I started playing tennis recreationally as a 7-year-old. I really upped my game and started playing competitively last year, when I was 9,” he explained.
This is the first year Wang and his teammates have made it to Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. The competition has been intense, but Wang said it’s the new people and places that he’ll remember most.
“Team tennis is great because you have a lot of your friends that have the same passion for tennis that you do,” said Wang. “So if you can compete with your friends, you get a better bond and it’s a much cooler social experience than playing individually.”