HS tennis: Foitik off to perfect start for Santa Rita

2012-03-23T00:00:00Z HS tennis: Foitik off to perfect start for Santa RitaDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Santa Rita's Richie Foitik might seem small, but he has proven to his opponents size isn't an issue.

"He's got a small frame and extreme power that's attributed to his timing," Eagles coach Lenny Lowndes said. "He's got great timing on both sides."

So far this season, the 5-foot-6-inch junior captain is undefeated in singles play at 6-0.

In fact, he hasn't even dropped a set.

Last season, as a sophomore, Foitik said he finished 13-2. One of his two losses came against Palo Verde's Carlos Bermudez, a two-time state champion and last year's Division II runner-up.

Lowndes, who coached Palo Verde last year, said Foitik is probably the second-best player he's ever had behind Bermudez.

He also said he doesn't think Foitik will lose any matches this season.

Here's a look at why that is a legitimate possibility:

Experience

Tennis is anything but new to Foitik. He's been playing since age 3, aside from a one-year break he took during eighth grade after feeling burned out.

"I started off at Randolph at the Saturday clinics, and then I played at the RSTA Academy for a while and then moved over to a racket club," Foitik said.

Foitik said one of his best experiences in tennis was playing in the Czech Republic, where his father was born. He went there with his grandparents about five years ago to visit relatives.

He also got to play on clay court, which he loved because he could slide around on it.

"That was back when I was really competitive," Foitik said. "I think I played the country's No. 1. He got me, but it was close."

Attitude

Ever since Foitik got back on the court at Santa Rita as a freshman, things have been different.

"I'm a little more dedicated, and I want to do well for my school," Foitik said.

Even though he's undefeated, Foitik said he wants to compete at a higher level and improve his game a little more. He thinks he has what it takes to win a state title as long as he works hard.

"I just want to get out there and play hard, fair, with the best I have and get it done," Foitik said. "I love competing."

Lowndes said Foitik's attitude is one of the main reason's he's the captain.

"He brings a lot of energy to the team," Lowndes said. "A lot of energy, positiveness and leadership."

Technique

Foitik said his three strongest moves are his slice, serve and backhand, calling his backhand "pretty dominant."

"Those are my three key dominant aspects of my game," Foitik said. "I have a really solid backhand."

He also said practice is essential for him to keep his serves strong along with getting his whole body into them.

An area he needs to perfect by the time state rolls around next month is his footwork and staying in tip-top shape.

"Kind of all-around perfecting my game," Foitik said.

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