Sport

Burke one for the future, says coach

BY PAUL BURROWES Observer writer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012    

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JAMAICA'S Ivy League player, 19-year-old Brandon Burke, has been training and getting ready for his third year of collegiate tennis at Brown University where he is majoring in sociology.

His coach David Schwarz, in charge of the Brown Bears' Men's tennis programme since September 2010, believes that the 6ft-3in Burke can make an impression on the professional circuit.

"He has good hands and feet and he generates a ton of racquet speed," said Schwarz.

"Brandon is a super nice guy and a good competitor. He is a strong doubles player [and] terrific teammate and is extremely popular with the other members of the team," added the Brown University head coach.

Schwarz has improved the Brown Bears from a team ranking of No 73 in 2009 to 50 as of June 2012 in the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis.

He is sharing that skill with Burke, who started playing Davis Cup for Jamaica in 2009 and has become a fixture on the team since 2011.

In Group III of the Americas Davis Cup last June, Burke posted victories against players from Panama, US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Costa Rica in singles and doubles at the Shaw Park Tennis Facility in Trinidad & Tobago.

He partnered with Dominic Pagon in doubles and won all those matches in the Davis Cup. In fact, Schwarz believes Burke is potent in the doubles.

"Brandon definitely has the potential to make an impact on the pro tour in doubles if that is what he wants to do. His fitness level and work ethic in practice is beginning to line up with his talent," he asserted.

As a junior up to 2010, Burke had a career-high combined ranking of No 78 in the world. In his junior singles career he won 62 and lost 47 matches, while in the doubles he won 77 matches and lost 41.

In his first year of college tennis, Burke was named Rookie of the Year. As a sophomore he battled back problems, according to his coach, but played almost the whole year at No 1 in singles and No 1 in doubles for Brown University.

"The team improved and we played a much tougher schedule last year. Burke played mostly at No 2 and No 3 in his first year, in addition to having a strong record at No 1 in doubles," Schwarz pointed out.

Though the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) pre-season rankings of 2012-2013 have not yet been released, Burke will have his work cut to prove that he will be one for the future over the next 10 months.

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