FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island tennis ace Logan Zapp, a junior at Fleming Island High School, upped the ante on his national rankings last week with dominant wins at the USTA Boys 16 National Clay …
FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island tennis ace Logan Zapp, a junior at Fleming Island High School, upped the ante on his national rankings last week with dominant wins at the USTA Boys 16 National Clay Court Championships in Delray Beach, but the quiet assassin of tennis foes took a quick vacation and packed his bags for two more big tournaments before the summer ends.
In Delray Beach, Zapp won the 16s individual tournament with a knockout of the number two seed of the tournament; Zapp being seeded fourth, then regrouped to grab a doubles title a day later. Zapp was also named Player of the Day for his day seven wins and then Player of the Tournament for his two wins.
“I was a low seed last year and lost to the 10th seed early in the tournament,” said Zapp. “I probably played doubles too, but forgot how I did.”
Read that as not a good tournament showing in 2017.
“I think that finish kind of opened my eyes as to what would happen if I didn’t prepare enough,” said Zapp, who wound up as a Class 4A individuals runnerup for Fleming Island High School last year. “This year, I grew a little taller which helps with the torque of my service, got a little stronger and got more endurance. You would hope you improve every year.”
In a 16s final recap of the tournament from a USTA press release, tennis aficionados wrote of Zapp’s accomplishment that when you think of men’s titles on the tour, the obvious big names like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic come to mind. But how many of those titles include doubles? Not as many. For Federer, eight doubles titles since 2001. For Novak, one career doubles title. Nadal, a career high of 11. On the women’s side, the Williams sisters are the exception as Venus and Serena have a combined 121 number of singles titles and 23 doubles titles.
According to one official, only John McEnroe, as a 16 competitor achieved Zapp’s double win.
For Zapp, the USTA 16s win was a big one on his busy schedule.
“This is a biggie,” said Zapp. “The Golden Ball, the trophy, is a big deal.”
After returning from a quick Bahamas vacation with his family after the Delray Beach double, Zapp was packed on Thursday to leave for Illinois for a team championship tournament followed by another tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In his opening round of play at Delray Beach, Zapp had some close scores in the first set of the two-set matches including a 7-6 win in the third round that he finished with a 6-1 second set to win and a 6-4, 7-5 hard-fought win over the top-ranked player out of Texas, Andrew Chang, in the preliminary final to put him into the championship bracket.
“I had some lack of concentration in that first 7-6 match, but I was at 5-3 and couldn’t close the set,” said Zapp. “Andrew (Chang) was a good mover, really consistent, made me run and I think my second set mentality and endurance was a lot stronger in all of my matches. I guess it just wears them down. Against Chang, it was a two hour match and he had solid ground strokes. He was up 3-0 at one point.”
In his championship semifinal, Zapp again won in “just” 7-6, but retaliated to a 6-1 second set win to get to the final.
“I was thinking if I lost this one, it would really have been a bad tournament even though I got that far,” said Zapp. “I think my semifinal guy, Aidan Mayo of California, would have beat the finals guy too.”
Zapp would take the close call in the semifinal to torch the final; against Ryan Fishback, the number two seed out of New York, 6-0, 6-2.
“Being from New York, he may have been affected by the heat and humidity,” said Zapp. “My doubles partner and another friend both played Fishback and I got some advise from them.”
Being talked about in the same breath as tennis legends like Federer, McEnroe and Nadal, Zapp thought the ability to stay focused in tough matches is the key.
“Some good players fall off the rankings,” said Zapp, coached locally by Mark Arrowsmith. “A lot of people have won big tournaments, but to keep going year after year is tough. I just try to keep improving.”
Zapp’s move to the 18s next year as a 17 year old will be yet another step into unchartered lands.
“We shall see what happens,” said Zapp.