Scorching start to summer tennis season for Fox Chapel’s Shymansky
After a stellar high school career, Fox Chapel tennis player Robby Shymansky is shining at a new level.
Shymansky, 18, took first place in men’s open singles in the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit Wildcard Tournament June 14-16 at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center. He received a wild card into the main draw of the Pro Circuit Tournament July 2-7 at the same venue.
Seeded fifth, Shymansky defeated second-seeded Jason Kros, 6-4, 7-5, in the final. Kros played first singles for Virginia Tech and qualified for the NCAA Division I championship this season.
Shymansky edged fourth-seeded Lance Cohen, a South African professional player, 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-3, in the semifinals. Shymansky won his first three matches in straight sets.
“I’m just super excited to play in the (Pro Circuit) tournament because it’s my first professional tournament,” said Shymansky, a two-time WPIAL Class AAA singles champion who earned WPIAL and PIAA titles this season. “I would love to win a round or two, but the competition is really tough.
“I just want to compete hard and play to win.”
Shymansky was not surprised by his victory in the wildcard tournament.
“I felt like my game was getting better at the PIAA tournament, and I usually have pretty good results in the summer because I can focus on tennis more,” said Shymansky, a Yale recruit. “I had to beat some good players and play my best tennis, but I always believe in myself and expect to win.”
Fox Chapel coach Alex Slezak said everything is coming together for Shymansky.
“He has trained and acted like a professional tennis player for years now,” Slezak said.
Formed in 1979, the Pro Circuit draws players who aspire to earn ranking points and gain entry into higher-level tournaments on the senior pro tours, including the ATP for men. The Mt. Lebanon event is one of more than 100 scheduled this year.
Prize money is $15,000.
“I’m training a lot and getting a lot of matches in to get ready for Yale,” said Shymansky, who plans to study pre-med. “I’m also spending time in the gym to get stronger.
“I know I’m not going to have a summer as free as this again. I’m just playing a lot of tennis.”
Yale coach Chris Drake was impressed by Shymansky’s win over Kros.
“While Robby will have hard work ahead of him to make an impact at the college level, a win like this certainly shows his potential,” Drake said. “It will be a great experience for Robby to play in the (Pro Circuit) event.
“We hope it’s a level he and other players on the team will aspire to with their tennis.”
Drake took over for Alex Dorato, who is retiring.
“I have high hopes for Robby to play (a) significant role in the Yale team’s success over the next four years,” Dorato said. “Robby has several characteristics that speak to his potential for a great college career.
“He has a tremendous work ethic, he is passionate about becoming the best player he can be, he hits hard and plays a big game and he has a strong serve. I am disappointed to not have the opportunity to be his coach.”
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.