Jared Pratt has made a miraculous journey these last four years.
From the possibility of never playing tennis again to the top of boys junior tennis in the United States is quite a trip.
But that’s what this determined young man has accomplished since September 2013 when he underwent surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina for the curved spine condition scoliosis.
He was worried that his game might never be the same. It’s never been better.
The 6-1 Bishop England senior was crowned by the USTA as the No. 1 boys junior tennis player in the nation this past week with the release of its final boys 18 rankings for 2017.
A final No.1 national ranking probably has never happened before to a local junior. At least, not in the Open Era.
Chip Hand, his coach, paid tribute to Pratt’s rise.
“I am amazed and so proud of what Jared has accomplished this year,” said Hand, a former Brigham Young University All-American. “Three national balls . . . one gold, two bronze (in 2017) is so great, and signing with Wisconsin.”
Pratt took the final step of his climb to the top of the ladder in the recent USTA Winter Nationals at the USTA campus in Orlando, Fla., by taking third place in boys 18 singles and making the doubles quarterfinals. A few weeks earlier in the National Indoors, he was part of the gold ball national championship doubles team and also took the bronze ball for singles with a third-place finish.
What’s next for Pratt? “I’m excited for his next few months before college where he will be focusing most of his attention on gaining some pro experience at some futures (pro tournaments),” Hand said.
“There is still much that he can improve on and continue to grow his game. He wants to go into college ready to beat the best players out there.”
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.