Patrick Maloney, 17, represented Oyster Bay at this year’s United States Tennis Association Boys’ 18 and Under National Clay Court Championships in Boca Raton, Fla. He finished second in the tournament’s doubles competition on July 22. Although he and his teammate, Harris Walker, came up a little short, he was satisfied with their overall effort and the journey he experienced throughout the tournament.
“It meant a lot for us to get as far as we did,” Maloney said. “It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year, and we told ourselves to have some fun and play hard.”
Maloney, who started playing tennis at age 6, described the clay court tournament as special.
“There’s nothing like it,” Maloney said. “To go out and compete against some of the top players in the country, it made me feel good to know that I’m up there with them.”
He said he believes that he and Walker, of South Salem, played well throughout the championship, but they simply lost to a better team. The New York-based duo has played together for almost a year, and Maloney explained that they’ve built a lot of chemistry on the court going into this competition.
“He’s one of my good friends, and we’ve had some good results so far,” he said. “In this tournament, we weren’t seeded very high. When we won in the opening rounds, we realized that we had a good shot at this.”
Maloney also competed in the singles competition at the clay court tournament, finishing seventh. For Maloney, the Clay Court was just one of several national competitions that he played in. In May, Maloney was a runner-up at the National Selection Tournament, a competition featuring 64 players from across the U.S. Additionally, he finished second in the past two Eastern Super Six Tri City tournaments.
“The past five to six months have been great,” Maloney said. “I just to want to keep it up and continue posting good results.”
Maloney’s prowess on the tennis courts continues to keep him busy to this day. He went right back to practice once he returned from Florida. A week later, he went to Kalamazoo, Mich., to compete in the UTSA National Championships ,where he was eliminated in the fourth round on Wednesday.
Maloney’s mother, Maria, said that his ceiling was very high ever since he started playing. Much of his current success, Maria said, grew from his early failures. “He lost tournament after tournament after tournament,” Maria said. “Patrick, who was always an all-court player, would try to slice the ball and use drop shots. We were told that he shouldn’t change his style and that he would grow into his game.”
Maria added that Patrick’s all-court style has turned him into a well-rounded player on the court. Based on recent feedback from college coaches and scouts, Maria said, the best is yet to come.
“He’s on an upward course, and they feel that Patrick’s game will only improve as he matures and gets older,” she said. “It’s all a part of the process.”
Entering his senior year at Oyster Bay High School, Maloney plans to start visiting colleges every weekend in September. He hopes to commit to a college by November and continue his climb in tennis.