Michael Chen and his coach Mike Morris
Michael Chen (Holmdel, NJ) won the Boys' 12s singles and doubles divisions at the National Open Championships in Latham, NY. Michael considers this is to be his greatest tennis achievement to date! We recently caught up with Michael about his experiences both on and off the court, and what he enjoys when he is not playing tennis.
How did you first learn to play tennis?
I, at two or three years old, would use a cotton tennis racquet toy, which I had received as a gift, to hit a dangling light switch. I was into tennis ever since. My parents let me practice tennis since I was 4 and I had joined a group drill at 5. When I had turned 5 years old, I went with my family to vacation in Florida. We watched the Boy’s 12’s Supernational finals between Ryan Harrison and Jarmere Jenkins. Ryan Harrison was only 10 years old at that time. At 6, I had my first coach and his name was Marius and he was a great coach. I could not stop playing this great sport because I loved it. Currently I am being coached by Mike Morris at New Shrewsbury Racquet Club in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
What would you consider your greatest achievement in tennis, and why?
My greatest achievement in tennis would definitely have to be winning a national tournament in Latham, NY over the Presidents long weekend. I was the third seed in that National tournament. My arm was hurting, but I kept pulling through. After a few days, I had defeated the first seed and I was in the finals. I have never played this boy, but he was the second seed, so I could not underestimate him. In the first set, I was down 2-4, and I was thinking to myself “Just keep playing hard” and I found myself winning the set 7-6, in a hard tiebreaker. The second set was 6-3, and as I won, I was ecstatic. I had also played doubles, and my partner and I were the first seed, and again I saw my name in the finals. Smack, smack, smack and we had won 8-0. This was by far my best tournament in my life. I couldn’t believe that I had won both the singles and doubles in a national tournament, and that will be a tournament to remember.
What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject would have to be math. Math is unlike tennis because there is always a definite answer. In tennis, it’s never over until the last point is played, but math; there is only one correct answer. I am a good student, but my best subject would definitely have to be math. Math, to me, is a really fun thing to learn and understand.
If you could have dinner with any person in history, who would you choose and why?
I would like to have a dinner with Roger Federer. He is a master of tennis and it would be really cool to have dinner with him. It would be fun to ask him things about tennis and to really figure out what goes on in his mind about tennis. He is a genius on and off the court, and I think he is the greatest tennis player in the world. Going to dinner with him would be the coolest thing ever in my life.
What activities do you enjoy outside of tennis?
Outside of tennis, I like to play ping pong. I have a ping pong table at home and I play with my parents all the time. I can already beat my mom and I can (on a lucky day) beat my dad. With my tennis skills, I can play ping pong somewhat well already. Another thing that I extremely enjoy outside of tennis is skiing. I like the cold weather and the snow. I go skiing every winter and I have gotten much better then when I first started. When I first started skiing, I could barely stay on the skis without falling down.