Henderson shows age doesn't matter at Bristol Racquet Club

By Matt Hill

   BRISTOL -- Someone forgot to tell 12-year old tennis standout Adam Henderson to act his age this week.
   The Abingdon, Va. resident beat three adult players to reach the finals of the Arby's Open Men's 3.5 singles this week at the Bristol Racquet Club.
   Henderson did lose to Chad Quesenberry in the championship match 6-2, 6-2, but not before winning the respect of Quesenberry.
   "He's really good," Quesenberry said. "Just a few more years and the tables are going to be turned."
   Henderson thought Quesenberry was just too tough for him.
   "He was just really good today," Henderson said. "I played good, he just played better. I served good and everything. I hit really good. He just hit really good shots. I would hit a good shot, then he would come back with a better one."
   Henderson also tested the waters in the men's 4.0 singles this week. He lost to Johnson County standout Adam Cornett in the first round.
   "He hits it really hard, and he's real consistent," Henderson said. "He places it real good."
   Henderson started playing tennis early in life. He's been playing since he was six, and he already has the tools to win.
   Henderson is already hitting the ball with a lot of power and consistency. Henderson believes that will only improve as he gets older.
   "I can get better at placing it, and get more consistent with my power," Henderson said.
   Henderson takes lessons at the Bristol Racquet Club from U.S.T.A. pro Todd Smith. Smith thinks Henderson will be a force to be reckoned with during the next few years.
   "He's one of my toughest juniors," Smith said. "He's won the Bluefield tournament, he won the Meta tournament here, he won the Roanoke tournament, I think he won the Johnson City 12's tournament. He's definitely the 12-year old to beat right now."
   One of the biggest stars on the local tennis scene was in action Friday night. Bristol's Jim Flannagan has dominated area tennis for years, and it wasn't any different in the Men's Open Singles final.
   Flannagan defeated Jeff Lipinski 7-6, 6-1 in a match that took well over two hours.
   "You can plan on spending a lot of time when you play Lipinski," Flannagan said. "He's pretty deliberant in about everything he does. From the shirts that he changes, to going to the bathroom three times, to taking a drink and taking another drink, to putting his hat on and taking it off.
   But I learned the first time that I played him not to let that get into your head. I wasn't going to let anything beat me outside of what he's doing on the tennis court with the ball. If he wants to take 20 minutes, I'll be waiting on him."
   The present and past of Dobyns-Bennett tennis took center stage Friday night. Three-time District 1-AAA champion David Poole teamed up with current Indian standout Matt Stanley for a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Karl Kessecka and Pat Perkins in the men's open doubles championship.
   Poole was very complimentary of his partner after the match.
   "Matt played great," Poole said. "He stepped it up. I'm trying to get him a little experience. He's coming out and playing with the big boys. He's got a very good game."
   Poole was glad to be back on the court after having some heart trouble a few months ago.
   "You don't realize how much you miss it until you get out there and start playing again," Poole said. "It's just a lot of fun."
   Stanley credits Poole with improving his game.
   "He's really taught me a lot," Stanley said. "He helped coach at D-B.
   He shared a lot about what he went through, and how to deal with everything."
   Poole later joined forces with Shea Rickard to win a the mixed doubles open championship. The tandem defeated Jack Addelberg and Laura Hinkle 6-3, 6-2.
   In another match of note, Rex Lewis pulled out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 nail-biter over Scott Witherspoon in the Men's 4.0 singles championship.
   Notes: Elizabethton resident Randy Lacy won two titles earlier in the week. Lacy teamed up with Mike Lusby to win the men's 3.5 doubles 6-2, 6-1 over Jim Rowland and Jack Stevens.
   Lacy also joined up with Marsha Lusby to win the 3.5 mixed doubles over Fulton and Hogrd 6-1, 6-0.