Like most other 10-year-olds, Robert Anderson has a busy summer schedule.
Robert has plenty of time to ride his bike in the woods, go to a nearby creek or swim in the pool.
But his day wouldn't be complete without a trip to the tennis court at Petersburg Racquet Club.
"Robert takes some time off from tennis, but he plays almost every day," said Petersburg coach Craig Jones. "I think he has a pretty good balance, but all he wants to do is play tennis. He's just a tennis addict."
The Evans Elementary School pupil has been sharpening his court skills for only three years, and just started playing a serious schedule this season, yet he's already as focused as a seasoned veteran.
Ten-year-old Robert Anderson practices some tennis shots at the Petersburg Racquet Club.
Photo by Annette M. Drowlette
"I've worked very hard and I'm still working hard. It's not really a sacrifice. My goal is to become a more consistent player," Robert said.
He should achieve that goal sooner rather than later.
"Robert is really easy to teach. He's picked up and started doing things in one year that it takes other people three or four years to do," Jones said. "Some kids can be an athlete, and others have a feel for the game. Robert is a natural."
Natural talent only goes so far. Robert's desire, however, has placed the young ace in the winner's circle - he has taken titles this year at the Powerade Championship at Newman Tennis Center and the Festival of Flowers Tournament in Greenwood, S.C., and posted a dominating win earlier this month in the Mark Brown Memorial tournament at Petersburg.
"He not only won the Mark Brown, he won big," Jones said. "That was the best he's ever played. He beat everyone solidly."
Robert explains his success in a matter-of-fact fashion.
"My strengths are forehand and running down a ball. I'm trying to improve my backhand and serve. I play to get better, and I do play aggressively," he said. "I don't come to the net much. I just work on hitting it deep and moving the opponent around as much as I can. I try to play smart, and that kind of gets in their head."
Robert also has garnered attention for his positive attitude - he was selected for the Sportsmanship Award at the Georgia-Florida Open last April in Valdosta, Ga.
For Robert, the outcome of a match doesn't overshadow the most important aspects of his favorite sport. "I like tennis because it's something I'm good at," he said. "God gave me the talent."
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