Binghamton Teen takes aim at the LG&T
7/13/2012 (Updated 10:49:36 PM)(Source: Travis Eldridge)
BINGHAMTON -- Alex Tsai's been watching pro players on these courts since he was a kid, and while serving as a ball boy at the LG&T Tennis Challenger he imagined one day he would be smashing balls rather than chasing them.
"It was always my dream," said Tsai. "But I didn't think it was going to happen. It's nice to finally achieve it."
Last year Tsai competed in the doubles draw, playing with Binghamton Tennis Center Pro Bill Mendler. While the duo fell short in the opening round, it's an experience the now freshman at Wake Forest won't forget.
"The crowd here always cheers on the local player," Tsai said. "I remember in doubles, you know, we'd win one point and the whole crowd would go crazy. So I definitely get a lot of crowd support."
It may have been a dream, but Alex himself will tell you it wasn't until recently that he thought it could come true.
"My whole junior career I wasn't doing the best, but in my senior year I really picked it up, and that's when I knew I could compete."
That's about when his coach of five years Collin Crawford knew he had something special. However, Crawford also hopes there's a few ball kids this weekend chasing after the same wishes.
"I think it's good for our juniors, our aspiring players, to come up and watch him play," said Crawford. "See what kind of level some of these kids maybe someday themselves could get to."
With the eyes of Binghamton on him as Alex takes the court Saturday, he says there will definitely be some nerves.
"There shouldn't be, but I do feel a little pressure," Tsai said. "I just want to make them proud, it is my hometown so I want to do well, but I shouldn't have any pressure."
Tsai may be the underdog on Saturday morning, but he has an entire community behind him helping make a dream into a reality.
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