Having lost just one match during the entire regular season and then going on to claim the award for tennis conference player of the year while also becoming the first district champion from Johnson County since 2000, it is easy to see why Milligan College was very interested in pulling Timmy Bellamy into their program. Yet, the one thing that appealed most to Bellamys coaches, both in high school and now on a college level, is that the senior player accomplished all of these things largely out of pure, raw, talent.
Timmy has never had a private tennis lesson, which says a lot about his tremendous work ethic, said the Longhorns head coach, Steve Nave. Everybody we play, thats our big disadvantage, most of them have had private lessons since they were five or six and for us to catch up is difficult. For him to win district says a lot about his ability. He is more athletic than most of the people he plays and now he has figured out how to use that. As far as groundstrokes and serves, hes not the best tennis player, but he figures out ways to win and I think thats actually more important than just being a great player. He just figures out how to win.
Even Milligans head coach, Ryan Reynolds, made a point to mention Bellamys huge potential growth as a tennis player. I had wanted him when he came back in the winter, Reynolds said. But I definitely see a lot of potential and I think he is just starting to break into that. Hes got a lot of raw talent that hasnt been polished off yet as far as tennis goes, his tennis skills. Thats what were looking for, what were hoping to develop. Hes quick, he gets to it a lot, hes got great hand eye coordination, but tennis is one of those sports where finesse and time are a lot more of a factor than just raw power.
Surprisingly most of the hype appears to be lost on Bellamy who seems to look at Milligan as a simple opportunity to pursue an academic career while playing the sport he loves. I know the coach fairly well, Bellamy said about his choice to sign with the school. People kept telling me go to Milligan, go to Milligan, but I was just like I dont know if I want to stay that close to home. When I actually went and visited the campus I realized it was a really nice Christian college and I enjoyed the presence of it, the vibe it gave off. I got the acceptance letter about two weeks ago, and thats basically what I was waiting on. I had already talked to the coach in the previous month and I just had to fill out the rest of the paperwork.
For Bellamy the great thing about tennis is that it is an individualist sport, with the outcome entirely dependent on the players personal skill, something he couldnt rely on in other sports like football. I guess its about being self dependent, Bellamy said. In football you have that worry in your mind that when someone else messes up its going to affect the whole team and you have to make up for their mistakes, but in tennis you only have to make up for your own mistakes. You can stay focused, and if you can keep yourself calm you dont have to worry about anything else.
Modest about his own talent on the court, like all the sports he has been involved in Timmy was keen to point out that he plays tennis simply because he enjoys it. I wouldnt say it comes natural, said Bellamy, but I guess being athletic at a younger age helped. It helps my hand eye coordination. I used to play ping-pong at the community center all the time and it really helped me. But I guess you can say that, being athletic has made it come a little more natural. I liked helping the younger players to learn. We had a lot of fun. Im going to miss it but Im ready to move on. Ill have those memories, but I am ready to move on.
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