FROM HALL OF FAME TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
October 22, 2019
Many people who enjoy tennis have the luxury of enjoying the sport with a family member. As it’s the case for many, the first time one picks up a racquet is accompanied by a parent hoping to inspire their child to learn to love the game. For Matt Hane, head of tennis instruction for the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, it was both of his parents - and to this day - it’s the love he built for the game and the competitiveness that helps him continue playing.
There are quite a few things that drive Hane to continue to play and love tennis. Much of his life is involved in tennis in some fashion, whether it be playing tournaments with his mother or working as an instructor, but above all, he loves the competitiveness that comes with the sport.
“For me, it all boils down to competition,” Hane said. ADVERTISEMENT “It’s what I’ve done my whole life. Everything I do centers around something with competition. The thing that keeps me doing it is that it’s not just one element, it’s not just, ‘Are you the better player?’ There’s a fitness element to it, there’s different surfaces, there’s so many variables that keep it fresh in my mind. It keeps me enjoying playing.”
Hane will compete for the Italis Cup and captain the team representing the United States in the ITF Young Seniors World Team Championships in Miami which started October 20, while his mother has traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to Portugal to compete in the Seniors World Team Championships. Many mother-son combinations compete in various tennis tournaments, but Hane and his mother have shown just how good a family team can be.
“Both my parents were tennis pros when I was growing up, so I started playing as soon as I could walk and hold a racquet at the same time,” Hane said. “I played a lot with them growing up, mostly with my mom — she was really the only coach I ever had until I hit college.”
At 14, Hane said he reached a crossroad. He was given the option to focus more on baseball or tennis and knew whichever he chose that he’d be all in. Ultimately, he kept his racquet instead of a bat, and pursued a career on the court.
Sports present lots of opportunities among kids. One of those chances is to receive a full-scholarship to play a sport at the collegiate level. Hane was able to play at George Washington University, where his accolades earned him an induction into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Despite etching his name into GW Athletics glory for eternity, Hane remains true to what inspires him to play. Making the team that’ll represent the U.S. in Miami is in the upper echelon of milestones in his tennis career, and instead of the individual mindset that tennis brings, Hane loves the team aspect of tennis.
While on the court in singles tennis requires immense mental strength, Hane says the idea of having a team makes tennis that much more inspiring to him. He noted playing on a team in college was a meaningful experience because of the camaraderie it brings.
After reaching a high level of play, Hane never sees an easy match. He says even if he thinks he’s better than a certain player, he knows the match will be difficult because of how well players can hold against one another.
As he prepares for the ITF World Team Championships, Hane wants to progress off of last year’s achievements. He uses the past to attack the future and improve, but above all, he stays true to what made him fall in love with tennis: His family.
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Special thanks to Noah Zeigler, USTA Mid-Atlantic summer intern for writing this article.