INDIAN HILL – Cincinnati Country Day sophomore JJ Wolf wasted no time emerging onto the state tennis scene when he lost to teammate Asher Hirsch in the Division II singles state championship last year.
After almost conquering the sport on the state level, he did so on a national scale by winning the boys’ 16-and-under title at the United States Tennis Association Winter National Championships Jan. 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz. The No. 2-seeded Wolf defeated No. 3 Jake Van Emburgh of Verona, Wisc. 7-6(1), 6-2 to win the title.
“It feels amazing,” Wolf said. “I never expected this.”
But, it almost didn’t happen for him. He came close to losing in his quarterfinal match.
His opponent led 5-4, was serving for the match and Wolf had to break serve in order to come back and win. After that, he never looked back en route to winning his first gold ball.
“Any time you can win a gold ball, it’s a huge deal,” Cincinnati Country Day boys’ tennis head coach Matt Dektas said. “He’s a great kid, a hard worker and a throwback-type player. He’s just a great teammate.”
Wolf said he is thankful for the support he received from his family during his time in Scottsdale and now can turn his attention to the high school season where he has designs of a better finish than last year.
The only better finish would be to win the state championship. To do so, he might have to go through Hirsch once again.
“He is an amazing player and any time we play, the match could go back-and-forth,” Wolf said.
Regardless of whether he wins a state title during his high school career or not, Dektas said he believes that Wolf is destined to have many more career milestones.
“He is going to have an unbelievable college career and if he continues on this trajectory, he could play professionally,” the coach said.