André Johnson has been playing tennis for years but didn’t get into the competitive side of it until he was 10. Now 13, Johnson attends Brookside Middle School and trains at the Celsius Tennis Academy at Bath & Racquet Fitness Club.
Johnson recently won the Boys 14 Spring Super Series Tennis Tournament at the Countryside Country Club, in Clearwater, and played in the USTA Lakewood Ranch Country Club tennis tournament. He “played up” in the boys 16 age group and made it to the finals.
What are your strengths and weaknesses in tennis?
I think what I am best at in tennis is my forehand, because it has a lot of spin and power, and I can direct it around the court a lot. What I need to work on the most is probably my movement, because I am kind of tall and a little lanky, and I need to get my speed and agility better.
What is it like to play against kids who are older than you?
I’m 13, and when I’m playing older kids, it takes some of the pressure off, because you’re not really, per se, expected to win. But when you’re playing kids your age, you’re expected to win, and there is a lot more pressure. Playing older kids is a little bit easier, but it’s different, because they apply a lot more power, and they have a lot more shots than you. You kind of have to adjust.
Whom do you really admire in tennis?
I admire a lot (Rafael) Nadal, because he never gives up, and he’s always thinking of that point. He always gives it 100% whenever he is playing in a point. I admire Nadal for his fierce competitiveness and his love for the game.
What are you future goals for tennis?
I’m hoping to play in at least two of the four Grand Slams, if not all the Grand Slams. But, before that, I’m looking to get to the college level and compete in a D1 or D2 school and play singles, hopefully, and to win a few tournaments on the pro circuit or get deep into them. There are a lot of goals, and I just have to keep it step-by-step and not make anything too out of reach for me.