Tennis Prose



Michael Joyce Making Impact on ITF Junior Hamner

Sarah Hamner was a solid junior tennis player with okay ITF junior results. From May 2018 through January 2020, she played five ITF junior tournaments, with three third rounds, one semi and a first round loss earlier this year in January in San Jose, Costa Rica.

After the Covid interruption she began to work with Michael Joyce, the former coach of Maria Sharapova, Eugenie Bouchard and Jessica Pegula. Joyce, a former ATP top 70 pro who has played Sampras, Courier, Agassi, Rios, among others, relocated to Florida from Los Angeles.

Hamner, now 17, has returned to ITF junior competition last month and has been on fire. She qualified (won three matches) and reached the final of J4 Orlando, losing to Ashlyn Krueger in two tight sets. Then in Daytona Beach, Hamner again qualified and won the final 64 64 vs. Switzerland’s Chelsea Fontenel, ranked 313. Hamner avenged the Orlando loss to Krueger in the Daytona quarterfinal, 75 36 63.

Joyce is proud and somewhat stunned by Hamner’s sudden breakout. “She went through qualies again and won the title. Won 16 out 17 matches in 12 days straight on two surfaces (hard and Har-tru), that was pretty amazing.”

When asked what particular refinement he was able to establish into Hamner’s arsenal, he answered: “Court position. And using – not hitting every ball straight and same. Mixing up pace and using the court better and creating opportunities to take balls earlier. And using her lower body more efficient and she’s gotten a lot physically stronger especially in her legs.”

Hamner has also benefitted by being able to hit on occasion with Joyce’s former player and current WTA pro Jessica Pegula, who is now ranked no. 63. Pegula has beaten Caroline Wozniacki, Amanda Anisimova and Jenn Brady this year. So Hamner not only has the luxury of feeling and combating a professional elite ball, but she is also acquiring the experience and tutelage of one of the best coaches in the world, Michael Joyce.

Hamner is playing this week at the ITF pro $25,000 event in Orlando. She has accepted a scholarship to play at South Carolina and is keen on going to university. But if her improvements under coach Joyce continue, other doors may soon open.

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 13, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Hamner and Krueger got a WC into Orlando $25k doubles and beat the 4 seed 67 61 11-9.



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