ShareThis Page

Greensburg Salem 6th-grader driven to excel on tennis court

| Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 8:59 p.m.
Loren Byers, a sixth-grader at Greensburg Salem Middle School, took home two trophies from a United States Tennis Association tournament held at the  Greensburg Racquet Club.Submitted
Loren Byers, a sixth-grader at Greensburg Salem Middle School, took home two trophies from a United States Tennis Association tournament held at the Greensburg Racquet Club.Submitted
Loren Byers faithfully practices his sport.
Loren Byers faithfully practices his sport.

Loren Byers hits a fuzzy ball around for up to 20 hours a week in search of his dream.

The Greensburg Salem sixth-grader yearns to walk on the court one day as a professional tennis player.

“I love the sport,” Byers said. “I like the competition and to play in tournaments.”

Earlier this month, Byers was ranked sixth in Pennsylvania in the 12-years-and-under category by the United States Tennis Association.

“My ultimate goal is win all the Grand Slams (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open) and be No. 1 in the world,” Byers said, adding he knows achieving either goal will be a monumental feat.

Byers often battles older players, said his mother, Rachel Byers.

“In this area, (tennis) is not as popular, so Loren has to play with older people,” she said. “He'll play with someone in his 50s and college players.”

Byers, who began playing when he was 7 years old, said he enjoys competing against older players.

“College and older men play fair, and they never give up,” he said. “They pretty much try to beat me.”

He said he has won more matches against older players than he has lost.

Loren practices his ground strokes at both the Greensburg Racket Club and The Club in Monroeville. Two coaches help refine his game.

“It works well because one works with his strategy and technique,” Rachel Byers said. “The other one works with his footwork and speed.”

Both Rachel Byers and her husband, Alex Byers, give up many hours of free time taking their son to competitions — something others involved in tennis told them would happen.

“You've got to travel to get the competition. It's a commitment, but we've made the commitment,” Alex Byers said.

Her son loves playing tennis, Rachel Byers said.

“It's a lot for his age, but it's a commitment he's willing to make,” she said.

Tennis has helped their son to grow, both parents said.

“It really has,” Alex Byers said. “It's up to him to perform. He can't count on anyone else to help him. It's really matured him to learn how to lose and communicate with people.”

He will be satisfied with whatever his son accomplishes — professional tennis star or not — as long as he does his best, Alex Byers said.

“We feel the journey along the way has allowed him to be a better person,” he said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.