Junior Ore has yet to visit the Texas A & M campus, but his conversations with Aggie coaches Steve Denton and Bob McKinley have convinced the 18-year-old from Gaithersburg, Md. that the path to professional tennis runs through College Station.
"Steve Denton and Bobby McKinley have a pretty strong background with tennis professionally, and I want to become a pro and they were pros, so I believe Texas A & M is a perfect fit," said Ore, who plans to join the team in January. "I believe I need more time to develop my game before I can go pro and college is just another stepping stone."
Ore also considered a number of other schools, including Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Illinois and took unofficial visits to the first two campuses. But the conversations that Ore and his grandfather had with Denton and McKinley convinced him to select Texas A & M.
"They came to where I was training and they talked to my grandfather," Ore recalled. "We--my coach and I--were talking about the things I needed to do with my game, and they were doing the same thing as well, so it just worked out perfectly."
Ore spent many years at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., but since the U.S. Open Juniors, he has trained with former Princeton player Alex Vuckovic at Steve Smith's Academy in Tampa. Current Aggie senior Austin Krajicek also has trained with Smith throughout his junior and college career.
"I don't know the whole team, but I know most of the team," Ore said of the current A & M squad. "Austin just wrote me a message the other day saying welcome to the team."
Ore is in the process of changing some of his strokes, and wants to continue to work on those changes when he starts at A & M.
"My goal right now is just to work on my game, just tweaking here and there with my coaches and Denton," Ore said. "This summer I'm planning on playing in Europe on the red clay, just to play matches, not to go after points. I'll just keep practicing on my game and see what happens from there."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010