Morgan Mays spent the past couple years working on his game while looking down the road.
"I didn't worry about winning," Mays said, about his approach to tennis. "I was just working on being the best I could be for the future."
Apparently the future is now for the 14-year-old Longboat Key resident.
All that work seems to have come together and the result has been a winning combination that has Mays collecting trophies, including the 14-Under title in the 2008 Florida State Closed tournament in Daytona Beach.
"Everything is starting to click now," Mays said. "I have been working hard trying to get my game better. I thought that if I could get my game better, winning would follow."
In the state closed tournament, Mays, one of the top players in the country in his age division, knocked off top-seeded Gordon Watson, the No. 2-ranked player in the nation in the 14s. Mays had never beaten Watson in three previous matches.
One week later, Mays moved up to the 16-Under division to play in Florida Open Championship in Fort Myers. He reached the quarterfinals. Along the way he beat Alex Bogomolov of Miami in three sets. The last time the two played, Bogomolov won 6-0, 6-0.
"I have improved so much," said Mays, who was born in California and lived in Michigan before moving to Florida two years ago.
"That is a big win for Morgan," said Randy Ardenfriend, who is currently coaching Mays.
"His game has really come together and he is playing with a lot of confidence. He hits the ball harder than a lot of 18-year-old players."
Mays, who was an eighth grader at Sarasota's St. Martha's school last year, works with both Wayne Jackson, who was his instructor in Michigan, and Ardenfriend.
His streak of success began when he won the 8th Annual National Muterspaw Championships, held in Las Vegas in April. He then reached the final of the USTA National Open in Frisco, Texas, before losing to Bradenton's Trey Strobel. Mays and Strobel teamed up to win the doubles title in the event held May 17-21.
One week later Mays won the 14s titles at the Peach State Junior Tennis Classic in Norcross, Ga., and earned the tournament's MVP award for boys in divisions 12-Under through 18-Under.
At the state closed, Mays breezed through the draw. His toughest match was the 6-3, 6-1 win over Watson. In six matches, Mays lost a total of 18 games.
Ardenfriend said the plan is for Mays to play mostly 16-Under tournaments now.
"He is on a tear, he's ready," Ardenfriend said about the 5-foot-7, 120-pound right-hander.
Mays resides with his mother Jodi. His father, J Mays, the chief creative officer and vice president for design at Ford Motor Company, works in London.
Vickery in Bermuda ITF final
One week after making a splash at the ITF International Grass Court junior tournament in Philadelphia, Sachia Vickery continued her splendind play by reaching the final of an ITF event in Bermuda.
Vickery, 13, who trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, got to the championship match at the Bank of Bermuda Foundation ITF event before losing to Renata Arshavskaya of Russia.
Vickery beat Arshavskaya's sister, Adel, in the quarterfinals.
Vickery is now 12-2 in ITF tournament matches since qualifying for those events when she turned 13 last month.
Segusos to play Wimbledon
Bradenton residents Robert Seguso and Carling Bassett-Seguso are headed to England to play at Wimbledon.
Carling, who first played at Wimbledon at the age of 15 and at that time was the youngest player to compete in the Grand Slam tournament, will play in the 35-Over division.
Robert, who was once a member of the top-ranked doubles team and turned 45 on May 1, will play in the men's senior event.
They are the parents of three tennis players -- Holden, Ridley and Carling.