Tennis, perhaps more so than any other sport, is guilty of anointing players as “the next great thing” far too early. Players these days are peaking in their late 20’s and early 30’s, which gives 17-year-old Zachary Svajda plenty of time to prepare his ball-striking skills for the physical brutality of today’s game.
Last year, Svajda won the Boy’s 18’s National Championships at Kalamazoo at the age of 16, a feat accomplished only by Donald Young in the last 20 years. With his subsequent US open wild card, the Californian was a game from victory against his first-round opponent, veteran Paolo Lorenzi, before succumbing to muscle cramps.
"You don’t always know what you’re looking for, but when you see it, you know," former USC coach Peter Smith said of Svajda. "This kid is the real deal.”
You really cannot teach perfect timing and it's something Svajda has in excess. At just five years old, he was hitting the ball cleaner than most pros, and his videos went viral, or as viral as videos could get in 2008: