Mark Hamill is a young man from the City who grew up with the Red Deer Tennis Club and is now studying business management at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. The 18-year-old is there on a four-year tennis scholarship.
“Last March, UNF started recruiting me after seeing some tournament results and rankings of mine,” said Hamill. “After going on a visit to meet the team and seeing the campus I knew right away it was something I wanted to do. Right now my intended major is business management. I have conditioning/lifting in the morning and then practice in the afternoon with classes in between. So far its been really challenging getting used to the weather and humidity while being constantly busy.
“We are currently ranked #66 in the NCAA and have the potential this year to raise that ranking substantially. This fall we will be travelling to many tournaments in the southern states to get ready for team competitions come spring. We are aiming to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and make the NCAA championships for the first time in UNF men’s tennis history,” he said.
“I am excited to take my tennis to the next level and continue to learn and play for the UNF Ospreys.”
Rene Simon, who runs the Simon Tennis School in Red Deer, said, “I coached him for 10 years. He plays a strong, aggressive, full-court game. He’s fit, very smart, a very nice guy, a really good friend and I really miss him. We trained together and he coached here. He’s very professional, never late and always shows up.”
Hamill credits a lot of his success to the Red Deer Tennis Club and the Simon Tennis School.
“They have great programs with amazing coaches. It is fair to say that if it wasn’t for Rene Simon, the head pro at the Red Deer Tennis Club, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Along with the great coaching the Red Deer Tennis Club, in my opinion, has the best facilities in Alberta.
“Being from a small city like Red Deer and going to school in Florida has been a huge change for me so far. I am proud to represent Red Deer and the Red Deer Tennis Club as I continue my tennis career.”