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Mallory vows to learn from mistakes

Trey Mallory plays a backhand during his match against Eitan Khromchenko on Wednesday (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Trey Mallory produced a brave fightback in the second set but could not hold off a resurgent Eitan Khromchenko in their first-round boys’ singles match in the Bermuda ITF Junior Open Tennis Tournament.

A match that was originally scheduled for Tuesday was completed on Wednesday evening after rain disrupted the schedule of matches at the WER Joell Tennis Stadium.

Mallory went down 4-6, 6-1, 3-6 to Khromchenko of the United States in one of the best matches of the day.

Mallory was 3-1 up in the deciding set but could not hang on as his opponent battled back to win five straight games.

“I’m disappointed; I definitely feel I could have won,” said the son of Ricky Mallory, a former Bermuda No 1 player.

Mallory trains at the L’Academie de Tennis in Boynton Beach, Florida, where he says his game is improving. “I definitely think I’m getting better; there is more intense training out there.”

The 15-year-old had some vocal support in the crowd, including his parents and aunt Allison Towlson, a former top player.

“He had his chances, once he was on top in the second set he should have kept up the intensity but he reverted to playing it safe,” said Mallory Sr, the Bermuda tennis director and coach.

“Eitan did come back but Trey started just playing safe, keeping the ball in play and not capitalising on his opportunities on the offensive.

“He wasn’t aggressive enough in the third set.”

As a tennis dad, Ricky is careful not to put too much pressure on his son as he improves his game in Florida, where he is coached by Lawrence Carpio.

“I know he feels the pressure of coming back home and everybody knows he’s away at an academy, so they have high expectations of him,” Mallory said.

“He has definitely progressed, he just needs more tough matches like this and needs to get more mentally tough.”

Khromchenko, also 15, had praise for Mallory for the way he fought back in the second set, winning comfortably 6-1. “He played amazing, was very tough,” said the New Jersey resident.

“It was very tough, especially with the crowd cheering him on. It was difficult mentally and physically, we both had some controversial calls, but in the end I enjoyed playing him. I definitely enjoy playing here.”

Mallory, like his father, was also a keen footballer. Ricky followed his own father, Junior Mallory, into football at Dandy Town, PHC Zebras and Vasco and represented Bermuda in both football and tennis.

“He played football and I coached him at Dandy Town and he was in the national under-12 team and captain of the schools’ All-Star team,” Ricky Mallory said.

“One day he came to me and said, ‘All this training I’m doing for football, I could be concentrating on tennis; I just want to focus on tennis.’

“He just made the decision to focus solely on tennis. He played up front [in football] and I actually wanted him to continue with football because I told him I did both.

“But in these times if you want to turn professional you have to devote your time solely to that sport.

“I don’t force him to play football, but he loves to watch it on TV.

“With his demeanour, he’s a real humble kid, he didn’t like all that shouting from the parents on the sidelines. I sensed that when I first took him out there.”