Theo Montgomery loves playing tennis. So much so in fact that he practices for 12-14 hours a week during the spring and summer. And when he’s not practicing he’s playing in tournaments and winning them.
In fact, he won seven of the nine tournaments he entered last year – four at the U9 level and three at U10 – made the final of in another tournament and the semi-final of yet another. In doing so he accumulated enough points to become the top-ranked U9 player in Ottawa and the 5th ranked U10 player in the city.
But it has not been an easy road for the fourth grader. In his own words, he “sucked” when he first started playing competitive tennis at the rip old age of six-and-a-half.
“I lost every match the first three years I played competitive,” says Theo, who first picked up a tennis racket when he was just three years old.
After three years of suffering losses and getting schooled by older kids he finally won his first tournament in 2022.
That experience helped motivate him to continue training at both the Compound Performance Academy at the Carleton Tennis Centre and the Rideau Sports Centre tennis academy.
The highlight of the past season was a trip to Florida to play in the Little Mo Inter-national Tournament for kids age 8-16.
Theo lost his first match 6-0, 6-0 to a player from the Czech Republic, but he bounced back to win his second match 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the consolation draw only to run up against a youngster who was from Russia, but is training in Florida, and lost 6-1, 6-1 in a match that was a lot closer than the score would suggest with Théo managing to win his share of points in a contest that took more than 90 minutes to complete.
The other big tournament Theo played in was the Eastern Canadian Team Champ-ionships. His father Cameron Montgomery put together the best four under U9 and U10 players in Ottawa to go up against 21 other teams which were all from the GTA.
Not only did Theo and his teammates hold their own, they managed to make it all the way to the semi-finals before losing in a hotly contested set of matches. They also lost the 3 vs 4 consolation final, but they still managed to place fourth after heading into the tournament as the number six seed playing against 21 other teams.
For know Theo enjoys the sport especially when he’s winning and he plans to play competitive tennis as long as he can and perhaps one day become a professional like his idol Hubert Hurkascz.
“Sometimes when I’m in a tough duel I feel like quieting and get grumpy, but my parents help get me out of my funk and I usually start playing better,” says Theo. “It’s definitely more fun when I’m winning.”
Theo’s dad says he plans to enter Théo in a lot more tournaments in Toronto and Montréal this year so he can be exposed to tougher competition which will elevate his game even higher.
By the end of the 2023 season he was ranked 39th in the province among U9 players.
The goal this year is for Theo to be ranked in the top 20 among U10 players.
Judging by his positive attitude, his com-petitive spirit and his willingness to put in the hours needed to continue to get better, Theo should make the top 20 sooner rather later.