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Joyce wins national tournament

by Rob Peirce

SPORTS WRITER

Tommy Joyce is at it again.

This time, the Bridgeport junior won the National Open High School Tennis Championships on June 25 in Orlando, thereby giving him the right to call himself a high school All-American.

In the championship round, Joyce beat Sean Mead from Miami, 6-2, 6-4. He defeated the Arkansas AAA state champ in the semi-finals.

Overall in the tournament, which was sponsored by the National High School Coaches' Association, there were 48 competitors from 21 states.

"The first couple of rounds weren't that hard," Joyce said. "But the semifinals and finals were tough. I had to play my best to win."

His goal entering the tournament was to gain All-American status, which was given to the tournament's top eight finishers. Joyce said he was surprised to come out on top.

"When I first got in the tournament, I didn't expect to go in and win it," he said. "I just wanted to play well and win a couple of matches."

Starting today, Joyce will compete in another national tournament, this one in Columbus, Ga.

"I should do well," he said. "I've seen the draw, and I've played against a couple of those kids before."

Joyce was out of tennis for eight months after tearing a rotator cuff in the West Virginia state tournament during his freshman year.

To recuperate, his parents sent him to the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas for six months. Joyce said he hopes to return to the academy for the second semester of both his junior and senior years and hopes his recent success is a convincing argument.

"I hope that shows how much I've improved," he said. "Hopefully, I'll go back."

But his success isn't a factor in whether he returns, his father, Pat, said. At $9,000 per semester, the financial feasibility is more of a concern. Whether Tommy goes back or not is uncertain.

"If we had the money, I'd send him down there for the rest of his high school career," Pat said.

Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444.

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