Serving it up with NC alum Hunter Reese

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Serving it up with NC alum Hunter Reese

Hunter Reese, former NC alum and Varsity tennis player, sincerely praises his alma mater for preparing him for life. Reese, pictured with former head tennis coach Bryan Minish and NC teammate Evan Stack (Top middle and bottom left), later played at the University of Tennessee, breaking multiple records (Top left). After playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open, Reese traveled worldwide on the ATP circuit. “I’ve traveled all over the world; to almost every country in Europe, many places throughout Asia, spent time in Africa, the Caribbean, everywhere in the US and North America. I try to really stay focused on how fortunate I’ve been to be able to lead the life that I live,” Reese said.

Hunter Reese, former NC alum and Varsity tennis player, sincerely praises his alma mater for preparing him for life. Reese, pictured with former head tennis coach Bryan Minish and NC teammate Evan Stack (Top middle and bottom left), later played at the University of Tennessee, breaking multiple records (Top left). After playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open, Reese traveled worldwide on the ATP circuit. “I’ve traveled all over the world; to almost every country in Europe, many places throughout Asia, spent time in Africa, the Caribbean, everywhere in the US and North America. I try to really stay focused on how fortunate I’ve been to be able to lead the life that I live,” Reese said.

courtesy of Pam Stack and www.vols.com

Hunter Reese, former NC alum and Varsity tennis player, sincerely praises his alma mater for preparing him for life. Reese, pictured with former head tennis coach Bryan Minish and NC teammate Evan Stack (Top middle and bottom left), later played at the University of Tennessee, breaking multiple records (Top left). After playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open, Reese traveled worldwide on the ATP circuit. “I’ve traveled all over the world; to almost every country in Europe, many places throughout Asia, spent time in Africa, the Caribbean, everywhere in the US and North America. I try to really stay focused on how fortunate I’ve been to be able to lead the life that I live,” Reese said.

courtesy of Pam Stack and www.vols.com

courtesy of Pam Stack and www.vols.com

Hunter Reese, former NC alum and Varsity tennis player, sincerely praises his alma mater for preparing him for life. Reese, pictured with former head tennis coach Bryan Minish and NC teammate Evan Stack (Top middle and bottom left), later played at the University of Tennessee, breaking multiple records (Top left). After playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open, Reese traveled worldwide on the ATP circuit. “I’ve traveled all over the world; to almost every country in Europe, many places throughout Asia, spent time in Africa, the Caribbean, everywhere in the US and North America. I try to really stay focused on how fortunate I’ve been to be able to lead the life that I live,” Reese said.

Peyton Stack, Staff

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Fans cheering, heart racing and match point with a deciding a trip to the second round of the U.S. Open Grand Slam on the line, Hunter Reese eagerly awaits his partner, Evan King, to serve. Positioned near the net, Reese looks to seal the duo’s first-round marathon match with his signature forehand volley. Sure enough, the opposing returner tries to neutralize King’s serve with a topspin forehand, perfectly setting Reese up for a forehand volley smash. Immediately, Reese turns to his partner, celebrating their fresh victory with an emotional embrace.

In an exclusive interview between Reese and The Chant, Reese commented on his admirable feat. “Playing in a slam is, I think the dream of every kid that grows up playing tennis. So in a way, it was a dream come true, not to be cliche,” Reese said. 

On a brisk sunny day in the summer of 2010, those in the Kennesaw area could always find Reese on the Pinetree country club tennis courts, hitting serves until he ran out of balls to hit. Reese, an NC alum and former top player on the NC varsity tennis team, proves himself successful on any level of tennis he pursues (juniors, college, or the Association of Tennis Professionals tour). Though now a slightly different campus, one can still find Reese’s name under the bright lights of the newly built NC tennis courts, and his achievements dispersed throughout the trophy cases. No matter the location, Reese seems to truly love his passion and attempts to share his gift for anyone willing to receive. 

courtesy of Hunter Reese
Playing on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour, Reese travels all around the world. Pictured here, Reese executes a volley on a red clay court in Lisbon, Portugal. Reese continues to travel to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia for tournaments. “For every rough country or negative moment, there are a dozen positive ones and countless experiences that have helped me to grow and evolve as a person which will indubitably help me down the road in life,” Reese said.

Throughout his time at NC, Reese studied and remained active amongst the student body while remaining nationally ranked in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) standings and leading the NC varsity tennis team under former head coach Bryan Minish. Training out of the Stephen Diaz Tennis Academy in Marietta, Reese worked with the NC counseling staff to mold his school schedule around his tennis schedule. After achieving blue-chip status via Tennis Recruiting and reaching the top 20 in the USTA rankings, Reese accepted an athletic scholarship to play at the University of Tennessee, graduating NC early in December of 2010. 

“I enjoyed my time at North Cobb. Tennis is a bit different than other sports at the elite level. When I was in high school, the vast majority of the players against whom I competed in sectional and national tournaments were home-schooled. They were spending four, five, six hours every day between tennis and fitness at an academy, whereas I was living a fairly normal life as a teenager. I practiced after school for around two hours a day, 3-4 days a week. As my level and ranking improved, I got to a point where I needed to be spending more time on court. But I wanted to continue going to North Cobb and having as normal of a life as I could. So we worked with the administration, and beginning my junior year, I took two classes at school and two classes online, so I could leave campus every day at noon. Thanks to this and my coach at the time, I started training 4 hours on court every afternoon with about an hour of fitness either on the track or in the gym every day. There’s no doubt this flexibility allowed me to continue to improve and make it to the University of Tennessee. High school tennis was also my first experience on a tennis team. So it was really cool to have a group of guys that were all working towards the same goal,” Reese said. 

 At Tennessee, Reese proved himself the backbone of their young team, holding down the #1 doubles spot and the #2-#4 singles position.  After redshirting (forgoing a year of eligibility) his freshman year at Tennessee, Reese finished with 90 career singles wins and 117 career doubles wins. At the end of Reese’s junior year, he and partner Mikelis Lebietis won the 2014 NCAA Doubles championship in Athens, Georgia, earning a wildcard into the 2014 U.S. Open Grand Slam (along with earning All American honors). After a successful career at Tennessee, Reese not only proved his talents but also showed prime leadership amongst his team. Reese then pursued a professional career on the futures and Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour. 

“I think the first thing that comes to mind from college is winning the NCAA doubles championship. It was so special because the tournament was held at UGA so my family got to come all week. I had some teammates drive down from Knoxville to watch the finals, and some high school friends from Kennesaw came, as well as my coach from North Cobb, Coach Minish. It was also just such an amazing validation and culmination of the work that I, my partner, and our whole team had put in for the year, and even our whole careers to that point. On a more personal note, I would say that there are just countless memories from my time at UT with the guys on the team there. We became so close and those guys are more like family than anything now. The team aspect of college tennis is so undervalued until you’ve actually been through it. So to try to pick a single moment or even a handful of them from my time in college is difficult,” Reese said.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Tennessee, Reese began in the 2014-2015 season, playing on the pro circuit. Starting out in smaller futures tournaments, Reese captured several titles, all while traveling the globe. As Reese’s rank continued to climb, he began to qualify for bigger challenger tournaments and even another appearance in the U.S. Open Grand Slam. Reese achieved his highest doubles ranking on April 15, 2019, reaching 112 in the world. Reese continues to travel worldwide, playing tournaments on almost every continent (no, Antarctica does not have tennis). 

I want to continue to play as long as I love the sport and continue to feel like I have more to give. I don’t like to pinpoint ranking goals because I think that puts an added layer of pressure. Having said that, there are milestones and my next one is breaking into the top 100,” Reese said. 

As Reese chases his dreams of breaking into the top 100 in the world, he keeps his sights set on the future, hoping to use his passion to accomplish bigger and better goals. Reese hopes to one-day coach tennis at the collegiate level while earning his MBA and AD. No matter the racquet, no matter the court, and no matter the opponent, Reese exhibits the Warrior values of grit and patience that he learned years ago. 

“As a tennis player myself, it is super inspiring that he (Reese) was able to reach D1 and then played on the pro tour. It makes me want to work hard and be like him,” junior Varsity tennis player Grayson Hines said. 

 

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