Mulberry junior Luke Anderson won the 2A Singles State Championship earlier this week in Jonesboro.
Luke is the lone boys player at Mulberry and he’s coached by his father, Jim.
"My dad was playing and my cousin was there and we just started hitting the ball around (while dad and uncle played)," Luke said. "It just kind of went from there."
Luke and his cousin, Andrew — who finished as doubles runner-up with Grady McCain for Greenwood in 6A — have honed their skills from their fathers’ passion for the game, not knowing at the time it would become theirs, too. In fact, it wasn’t until a couple years ago, Luke said, he became serious about the sport.
"I started winning more tournaments everywhere I went," Anderson said. "First tournament probably four years ago, couple more the next year and after that it’s been nonstop."
Literally by himself, the younger Anderson took Mulberry to a runner-up finish in the 2A boys team competition.
Impressive as Luke Anderson is on the court, ask his coach/parents and they’ll tell you the best part isn’t necessarily the wins and losses. The individual nature of the sport has allowed the father and son and mother and daughter to become closer on and off the court.
"We work out pretty much every day. We work out together, work on drills, work on his game and it gives me a chance to spend time with him, too," Jim Anderson said. "There’s definitely a closer relationship than you would have normally. It’s great for me to spend time with my son."
Luke finished third last year and didn’t lose a game in his first two matches and was down 2-3 before he came back to win the title 6-3, 6-0.
"He really put a lot of time in it this past spring and summer," said Jim Anderson. "He’s really worked hard on his tennis and I always thought he had a good shot at doing really well this year."