US Tennis is excited to interview 17-year old Collin Altamirano, who made tennis history last Sunday. He became the first unseeded player ever to win the boys U18s National title in Kalamazoo. On his way to the final, he took out a whole host of seeded players including the number 1 seed Gage Brymer in the semifinals with the loss of only 1 game. In the final, he beat Jared Donaldson 6-1 6-2 6-4 in a best of five set match, which secured for him the top prize for any junior player: a wild card into the main draw of the US Open.
US Tennis had the pleasure of catching up with Collin shortly after his triumph at the Zoo. Read what he shared with us below!
US Tennis: Collin, firstly, congratulations on such an amazing few weeks
Collin Altamirano: Thank you!
US Tennis: After a tricky opening match against Paul Oosterbaan and a three setter in your next match, you went on to win your next four matches, and the title along with it, without dropping a single set and barely losing games. Can you explain this sudden hot streak in your play?
Collin Altamirano: I got better and better throughout the tournament. I had two very tough opening matches and was able to fight through them. After those matches my confidence was very high, and I knew I could beat anyone at that event. I believed in my game and knew I could win.
US Tennis: Tell us a little about what you felt as you served for the match and saw Jared’s return fly long.
Collin Altamirano: It was an amazing feeling! I couldn’t have been more excited to win Kalamazoo and be going to the US Open.
US Tennis: Has it sunk in yet that you are going to be competing on the world’s biggest tennis stage at the US Open in a matter of weeks?
Collin Altamirano: It has definitely sunk in that I may play on Arthur Ashe Stadium against the world’s best tennis players. I couldn’t be more excited for this event and am happy that it’s starting so soon.
US Tennis: What does your schedule look like for the next few weeks leading up to the Open?
Collin Altamirano: My schedule is the same as it always is when it comes to my training. No new approaches even though it’s the US Open.
US Tennis: You are from Yuba City in Northern California. Who were the main influences for you growing up in such a small place?
Collin Altamirano: Well I grew up in Santa Barbara California and my mom was the main influence when it came to my tennis. The reason people think I live in Yuba City is because that is where my dad lives. I live and train in Sacramento, California.
US Tennis: How old were you when you started playing tennis? Do your parents or siblings play the game?
Collin Altamirano: I was about 5 years old when my mom got me playing on a consistent basis. My mom was a very good tennis player as was my step dad. None of my siblings play.
US Tennis: Tell us a little about your tennis career to date – Who is your coach, for example.
Collin Altamirano: My coach is Joseph Gilbert. He was my very first coach, but when I was seven we moved to Santa Barbara so I had to have a different coach for a while. I became a top junior when I was eleven. When I turned twelve, Joseph Gilbert approached my mom and asked if I would like to train in Sacramento and live with him. I said yes! 5 years later I’m still in Sacramento with Joseph and going to the US Open.
US Tennis: What are your plans following the US Open? Do you intend to take your game to the Futures circuit, or will you still be competing in junior tournaments fitting competitions around your senior year at high school?
Collin Altamirano: My plan is to start playing more futures events and see how my level matches up against the pros.
US Tennis: What are your ambitions as a tennis player? Will we see you lighting it up in college tennis in a year or two’s time, or do you see yourself going straight for the pro level?
Collin Altamirano: I’m still unsure of my decision when it comes to go pro or go to college, but this next year will really show me if I can make it in the pros or whether I should go to college.
US Tennis: Collin, thank you very much for talking with us and best of luck at the US Open!
Collin Altamirano: Thank you!
Photo by Bill Kallenberg