For Wayland resident Will Sharton, tennis runs in the family.
His father, Rick, is the director of tennis at The Thoreau Club in Concord. In addition to being voted as USPTA New England Pro of the Year in 2003, he has also coached several accomplished local players throughout the years including Damon Accardi, who went on to receive a full tennis scholarship to Penn State.
Now, Accardi has taken over coaching Will and the results have been immediate, with Sharton currently holding a ranking of No. 9 in the Boys 14-and-under division in New England.
“I’ve been able to find a good mixture between training hard and doing things outside of tennis,” said Sharton. “When I don’t have tournaments on the weekends, I just go and hang out with my school friends.”
The eighth grader at Wayland Middle School was groomed to play from an early age, hitting the courts for the first time when he was just 3 years old.
“I just picked it up from watching my parents play,” Sharton said. “They would bring me on the court and I liked it right away.”
He didn’t start playing tournaments until a few years later, but now spends approximately 20 weekends per year competing in some of the biggest events around New England. Sharton won three singles events in 2010 and reached the finals of two other tournaments, in addition to also winning a doubles title.
When he’s not playing tournaments, Sharton will spend 90 minutes a day on the court on Saturday and Sunday, in addition to playing three or four days during the week for about two hours.
“We’ve been working a lot lately on having me hit a heavier forehand and becoming more aggressive with my tactics,” Sharton said.
Although Sharton is currently getting ready for two national events over the next couple of months, he said is already looking forward to suiting up for the tennis team when he is eligible to play next year.
“I’m really excited to play for them,” he said. “They have a few big tournaments with lots of good players, and it will be nice to play on a team for once. I think that there’s a lot that can be learned from it.”