Junior Tennis Spotlight – Connor Hance
Torrance’s Connor Hance is now completely on the radar of the USTA Player Development national coaches.
Hance was recently one of a select few Southern California juniors invited to play in the inaugural USTA National Masters Championship, a unique, all-inclusive clay-court tournament and training camp held at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
Hance was one of 50 players nationwide chosen to play in the event. At the training camp and tournament, Hance took advantage of the Training Center’s resources, receiving on-court instruction from the USTA national coaching staff, as well as strength and conditioning, mental skills training and media relations training.
The event was developed from the past model of junior national team training camps, in which the top juniors from around the country converged for match play and training, and featured a “progressive” tournament format combining 18-and-under, 16-and-under and 14-and-under age groups for boys and girls.
Playing up in the 18s, the 15-year-old Hance fell to No. 3-seeded Liam Caruana of New Braunfels, Texas, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals.
“It was so fun and it was cool that my parents weren’t there,” said Hance, who was joined Southern Californians Jacob Brumm, Danny Gealer, and Timothy Sah on the boys’ side and Hance’s Pennisula High classmate Ena Shibahara, Claire Liu, Jessica Failla and Summer Dvorak on the girls’ side.
Hance first caught the eye of some of those national coaches a year and a half ago at the 2013 ASICS Easter Bowl when he saved a match point against John McNally of Cincinnati in the final to win the Boys’ 14s.
Hance played in the US Open junior qualifying tournament in September and is currently being coached by his father Ken Hance and Eric Basica.
He said he learned a lot during his recent trip to Florida, including sessions on mental and media training. “It all really helped,” Hance said. “They told us to not do what Andy Murray does in media training. I guess he’s not really good at interviews. He was the example of what not to do.”
Hance said media training tips included addressing the person talking to you and looking in their eyes when answering questions. “Just do the things that make you more professional.”
He said he’s been focusing on his fitness, serve and forehand, and is getting ready for two big ITF international events in December, the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl. “I’m just looking forward to do well there, and have a great year in 2015,” he said.