Hanau's Hayes in pursuit of DODDS tennis title
HANAU, Germany — Hanau High School’s Devin Hayes is a 17-year-old tennis player with a future — but not much time — on his hands.
“I train all the time,” said Hayes, a senior honor student who placed third in Europe last season in singles. “I practice three hours a day, every day.”
Here’s a typical day:
6 a.m.: Wake up.7 a.m.: Leave for school.8 a.m.-2:50 p.m.: In class.3-5 p.m.: School tennis practice.5-8 p.m.: Practice at German club.8-8:30 p.m.: Shower, dinner.8:30-1 a.m.: Homework.Things don’t get much easier on weekends.
“On Saturdays, after our matches, I’ll play tennis with friends and go to German practice,” Hayes said Wednesday by telephone. “On Sundays, I’ll do homework and go to German practice. Sometimes it’s two, three hours and sometimes one, two hours.”
The hard work is paying dividends, according to one opposing coach.
“Devin is a player who has advanced farther than most DODDS kids,” Bitburg coach Pete Vadney said by phone Tuesday night. “I attribute that to all the hard work he’s put in.”
In addition to training with the local German club, Hayes spent last summer attending three tennis camps: one in Florida, one in Germany and one in the Czech Republic.
Hayes said he enjoyed every minute.
“The approaches were totally different,” he said. “The camp in Florida was run by 16 college coaches. There were 40 kids there. We were on the court eight hours a day, and every day a coach gave each player a 15-30-minute critique of what he was doing wrong and what he needed to work on.
“I filled two 70-page notebooks with the tips they gave me.”
In the Czech Republic, the emphasis was on conditioning, but, Hayes said, it was far from being a grind.
“All of the camps were great,” he said. “I’d rather be doing this than anything else.”
The instruction has produced a well-rounded player, Vadney said.
“He’s very consistent,” Vadney said. “If a player planned to plant himself in the middle of the court and battle him forehand-to-forehand, he’d find himself with a lot of problems.”
Hayes opened the 2004 season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Shaun Redden of Hohenfels.
His ultimate goal this season is to dethrone defending DODDS champ Jun Koide of the International School of Brussels. After weeks of dithering about whether he would play singles, Koide recently decided to defend his crown.
“I’m glad there’ll be a challenge,” said Hanau coach Mark Gillett, who coordinates his instruction of Hayes with input from Hayes’ German coach. “It’ll be a good motivator.”
Not that motivation is much of a problem for the intensely focused Hayes.
“I would have to say that his main strength is his constant determination to improve all aspects of his game,” Gillett said, “to constantly challenge himself.”