Tennis Prose



A Rising Star Shines In Nutley

I played a USTA tournament in Nutley this weekend. Aside from winning it by beating the #1, #2 seeds and a tough first round foe, the highlight was seeing the son of former top 10 player Kathy Horvath in action.

Horvath is famous for ending Martina Navratilova’s Wimbledon win streak. Her son, named RJ, is the #4 ranked 12 year old in the nation. And boy, does he play like it. I was able to see parts of three of his matches.

The kid has it all. He whupped a young Asian guy, then in the quarters, he beat a late 50’s veteran who actually plays Futures qualifying events across the U.S. RJ beat him in straights, moving around the court like a miniature professional. Perfect poise and techniques, winners off of both wings, even an occasional serve and volley.

In the semifinals of the Mens Open event (he plays a lot of Opens, to learn from smart, experienced players – wonder if Agassi or Sampras played up that far?), the kid, attired in impeccable tennis whites each match, with a collared shirt, took on the #1 seed on the show court at the Nutley Club with a dozen observers. The kid got bagled in the first set but hung in there and figured out how to compete with his far more experienced, much bigger and stronger opponent. Stunningly, the kid even went up a break at 5-4 and served for the set but he could not convert, eventually losing 60 75.

Some of the points were amazing, as the two players performed what looked like pro level quality tennis, evoking applause from the small audience which was captivated. After the kid left, the tournament director thanked him for “putting on a show.”

I have seen video of Rafael Nadal at around the same age and the difference between this kid from New Jersey and the former ATP World #1 is miniscule at best.

It was hard to imagine Roger Federer or any other ATP player looking much better at a comparable age.

If I had to equate this kid’s game to anyone I would say Ryan Harrison. Similar serve motion and backhand. The foundation and athleticism are definitely in place for this kid to become a very, very good player in a few years.

Keep your eyes out for Kathy Horvath’s very talented son.


  • Dan Markowitz · September 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Nice report, Scoop. Congratulations on your win. Remember a few years ago we talked in the players’ cafeteria at the Open with Kathleen Horvath and she was friendly and open. She was coaching at the USTA Training Center at the Open back then, don’t know if she still is.

    Is her son waif-thin the way Horvath was? It shows you that not only talent, but having extraordinary training is the pathway for a great player.

  • Steve · September 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Please keep us in the loop if you hear that the youngster playing again locally. I’ve never seen a 12 yr old beat down a good adult but I know Agassi did it often.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top