Despite walking away from tennis two years ago, Tim Kane won the Section VI title and made a third trip to states, falling in the third round. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
Tim Kane picked up exactly where he left off after the end of his eighth grade season.
Hamburg’s tennis prodigy had much success in middle school, but he chose not play for his high school’s tennis team during his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
In fact, Kane did not play tennis for almost two years before this spring began, quitting the sport after falling out of love with it.
Despite the layoff, Kane still displayed the dominance he showed a few years ago.
Kane won the Section VI singles championship at South Towns Tennis Club on May 23.
He defeated East Aurora’s Jack McClaren, 6-0, 6-3 to return to the state tournament to conclude his high school tennis career.
A young Kane made it to states as a doubles player with his older brother, Matt, in the seventh grade.
He went back to the state tournament as an eighth grader when he switched to singles.
“The finals was a tough match,” said Hamburg’s tennis coach, Joe Tretter. “The East Aurora kid played great. Tim showed incredible heart and patience.”
“He was just grinding out there and showed a lot of heart,” Tretter continued. “It was amazing to see.”
McClaren was a familiar opponent to Kane as the pair first met at the ECIC championships the previous week.
Kane won that match, as well, taking both sets, 6-0, 6-2.
Kane left Hamburg’s varsity tennis team to compete on the United States Tennis Association circuit for a few years.
He quit the sport altogether when he was 16-years-old, playing on Hamburg’s basketball and lacrosse teams before coming back to tennis for his senior season.
He has yet to lose a match since his return.
“I have never seen him too tested out there,” said Tretter. “He won pretty easily without getting pushed too much in the regular season.”
In the first round of sectionals, Kane beat Eden’s Anthony Sinnatt, 6-0, 6-0.
In the quarterfinals, Kane beat Quinn White from Southwestern, 6-0, 6-0.
Kane then easily won his semifinal match over Williamsville North’s Mike Kessler, 6-0, 6-1.
The senior made his third appearance to the state championship tournament in just as many years playing tennis at Hamburg on May 29 in Flushing Meadows at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center..
“At the ECICs and sectionals, you’re going to see better competition, but he still won the early rounds quite easily,” said Tretter. “He had to work pretty hard to beat Jack, but Timmy’s awesome.”
Kane was the top-seed from Section VI, defeating Michael Perry (6-2, 6-3) in the first round and Stephen Gruppuso (6-4, 6-4) in the second round before falling to Artemie Amari (6-4, 6-4) in the third round, just shy of the state semifinals.
Kane will head to Duquesne is the fall to continue his playing career.
“I think, in his own words, having a long layoff from tennis, he’s still finding his rhythm and timing in these tougher matches,” said Tretter.
“By his own admission. all his strokes are there, his knowledge is there, he’s just finding the timing to perfect all areas of his game.”
Juniors Nick English and Isaac Gadikian of Frontier advanced to the quarterfinals of the ECIC doubles tournament.
The duo beat Alden in straight sets in the first round and upset Amherst, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, in the second round.
The pair would finally see their run come to an end when they ran into Orchard Park, falling 6-0 and 6-2 to the Quakers.