GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Top tennis recruit Robbie Young has spent nearly a decade learning from professionals in the sport. Now the Greenville native is taking his skills to a division one program close to home.
“When I’m having a rough day or something the thing I look forward to most is going to tennis,” said Young. “I feel like I can be relaxed and just not really worry about any other problems. I just get to focus on the sport.”
The tennis court has been his sanctuary for years. Young cultivated his skills at the Haviland Tennis Academy, working with highly experienced coaches on his way to the division one level.
“When he first came out he was this tall, lanky kid,” said academy owner and tennis professional Ryan Haviland. “He was pretty athletic, but just had, really frankly, not very good technique…I didn’t necessarily think ‘this kid is going to be a D-1 college player. But that was what’s so rewarding. It turned out he had a really good attitude, he was very coachable.”
“You’re kind of a fool if you’re not paying attention and listening to them, because they’ve been in the big moments and done all the stuff that I want to do,” Young said. “And so why not just take advantage of it?”
That coachability translated to tangible improvement over the course of nearly a decade with the junior academy. And earlier this year, the four-star recruit cracked the top 100 in the country.
“Every single year he went up in the rankings,” Haviland said. “Not massive leaps and bounds, just small steps every year, year after year. And it’s like everything, slow and steady wins the race.”
During his time at Haviland, Young was introduced to the Wofford program, participating in their camps most summers. The relationships he formed then eventually led to him signing on to become a member of the Terriers tennis team this fall.
“Wofford was always my top choice,” he said. “I already felt like I knew them so well and I knew the campus so well. It does feel nice. Feels like your hard work pays off with people coming to talk to you and want you to play for them. It’s a nice feeling.”
“The sky’s the limit,” added Haviland. “He’s motivated, he’s got talent, he’s got a good tennis body. The rest is just growing into it and continuing to develop. And going to a school where he can play right away and hopefully play high, that’s going to give him great experience.”
If his recent trajectory is any indicator, Young’s best tennis is still ahead of him. And he’s ready to embrace the challenge that this next step will bring.
“For me tennis has been a solo sport and that’s what it is for every junior. And then college changes it up a little bit and you’re on a team now. And I haven’t really experienced that. And so I think that’ll be really fun and interesting to see.”
Having benefited from professional help with the mental side of the game, Young plans to major in sports psychology so he can help the next generation of athletes deal with that important aspect of the sport.