After going undefeated last year and winning the Class A No. 1 singles title in boys tennis, Millard North junior David Liu spent the summer getting even better.
“I just traveled a lot to try to get my national ranking up,’’ Liu said.
He won a 16-and-under doubles title at a USTA national open and reached the round of 32 in doubles and round of 64 in singles at the summer national hard-court championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
He’s ranked 76th nationally and 13th in the Missouri Valley. He’s listed as a four-star recruit on the Tennis Recruiting Network website.
Liu worked on his transition game, trying to get to the net and finish off points. He played with college players and against his personal coach, Rick Faust. They’ve been working together since Liu was 7.
His expectations are just as high as last season.
“I’m going to try to go undefeated again, win state and help our team win a state title,’’ Liu said.
Liu loves being part of a team after spending his eighth grade and freshman seasons at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas, where he received a full scholarship.
A stress injury in his back during his freshman year sidelined him for about six months, and he decided to return to Omaha.
“I definitely matured a lot being away from home,’’ Liu said. “Obviously, I trained with some of the best coaches in the world and definitely got a lot better. I think I got bigger and strong. I just hit harder.’’
Robert Weber, the new coach at Millard North, said Liu is one of the best players in the nation.
“He’s got great hands at the net, a solid serve, very solid ground strokes and he’s strong out there,’’ Weber said.
Liu’s chief challenger last year, Lincoln East’s Court Clark, has graduated and will play at Nebraska. Liu said the next player to push him could be freshman Chris Dean of Papillion-La Vista South, who also trains with Faust.
Liu said Omaha Creighton Prep and Lincoln Southeast could challenge Millard North for a team title. The Junior Jays were second at state last fall behind the Knights.
The Mustangs finished fourth at state last season. But a couple of promising freshmen, Raymond Thai at No. 2 singles and Andrew Bristol at No. 1 or 2 doubles, could help Millard North improve.
“We have a really good team this year and definitely a shot at the title,’’ Liu said.
Elkhorn South, which won the Class B title last fall, returns five players from its championship team and is expected to contend for another title. A member of its state champion No. 1 doubles team, Bryson Mosley, has moved out of state.
“We’re just going to adjust our lineup and see if we can make another run like we did last year,’’ coach Steve Bischof said.
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