Mallory marching on as sacrifices pay off
As with any national tennis director, Ricky Mallory would normally be singing the praises of a young player doing well overseas.
It becomes somewhat tricky when that junior player also happens to be your son.
Trey Mallory, 17, has been in fine form on the ITF Junior World Tennis Tour, beating No 1 seed Emiliano González 6-3, 6-3 at the J4 Queretaro in Mexico last month.
“I don't like to seem to be biased, as a result I find myself not giving him his rightful due, and I'm probably harder on him than any other national player,” Ricky Mallory said of his son.
“However, there is absolutely no denying his accomplishments already this year.”
Trey, who has been enrolled at the Domínguez Pro Tennis in Miramar, Florida, since December, is making strides on the ITF Junior World tour, where Bermuda's No 1 junior — and the island's only player competing on the ITF Junior World Tennis Tour — started off the year ranked No 800.
With his recent victories in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, Mallory has catapulted into the top 400 in the world, the highest ranking of any local male player.
“Trey's recent move to Domínguez Pro Tennis, where ATP pro Darion King trains when not travelling to events, is paying off,” Ricky said.
“To think of the hundreds of thousands of children who play tennis worldwide, to be ranked in the top 400 is an accomplishment.
“Working with head pro Diego Domínguez, who takes a no-nonsense approach to practice, has transformed Trey's mindset as to what he feels he can accomplish.
“By getting the opportunity to spar and drill with ATP players and other players transitioning to professional tennis has given Trey an extra confidence boost.
“This was proved in Mexico when Trey battled in a marathon match that lasted just over four hours against Mexico's Adrian Dibildox 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.
“Even more impressive was how he was able to mentally and physically prepare his body for the next day to defeat and upset tournament number one Emiliano González.
“The journey for Trey is far from over as he must continue to travel and compete on the ITF World Tennis Tour.”
Mallory's progress has also come at tremendous financial cost to his family, with academy and travel expenses running at least $9,000 a month.
“There are tremendous travel expenses for tournaments, which includes paying the fees of the coach who travels with the player,” added Ricky, one of the island's former top players.
“It all adds up. He's got me working day and night! However, these are the sacrifices you make for your children. My parents could never afford the opportunity that Trey is having now. That wasn't even a thought back then when I was playing.
“I know he's grateful. Last year he picked up an injury and that set him back as far as his ranking and the amount of tournaments he could play in. He was getting a little discouraged and was talking to my wife Janea and me about feeling bad because he sees us making these sacrifices and he has picked up an injury and his ranking has dropped.
“I told him that injuries happen to all athletes; it's just a matter of how you bounce back from those injuries. He's a humble kid, definitely grounded and not one to brag.”
Mallory will train for the next few weeks before playing in back-to-back ITF Junior World tournaments in Puerto Rico this month.
“The goal is for him to continue playing on the tour, but between the Academy and trips is averaging between $9,000 and $12,000 a month,” Ricky said. “In order for him to maintain his ranking and move up, we have to make sacrifices.
“Funding is definitely an issue. It's hard for me in my position as national tennis director. I've had people come to me and ask if they fund raise on Trey's behalf. I told them to go right ahead, that I can't do it myself because of my position on the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association.”
Trey says he is enjoying his time at the academy where his game has definitely improved.
“Working alongside Diego and Frances Domínguez and Carlton Bedminster at Domínguez Pro Tennis has really improved my game both tactically and mentally,” he said.
“We have fitness and drills in the mornings, then match play in the afternoons with top players, which I feel has also played a huge role in my advancement.
“The academy stresses the importance of quality match play, something that was lacking in my training.
“This style of training has assisted in my recent results on the ITF World Junior Tennis Tour.”
Anyone interested in assisting Mallor as a sponsor can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org