Granite Bay’s Mayo brothers, Roseville’s Riffice cap big 2012 with top rankingsBy: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
Sam Riffice has spent a considerable amount of time away from his Roseville home since June working on his tennis game at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
He trains for three or four weeks and then returns home for a week or two. The hard work has paid off for Riffice, which means more time on the road.
Riffice, who’s two months shy of his 14th birthday, earned a spot on a team from the United States that’s playing in two big 14-and-under tournaments this month: The Teen Tennis Tournament was held last week in Bolton, England. The prestigious Les Petits As begins today in Tarbes, France.
Riffice isn’t the only area youth excelling in tennis. Keenan Mayo recently claimed a Gold Ball for winning the USTA Winter National Championships, losing just one set in seven matches, and closed 2012 ranked No. 1 in the nation in boys 12 singles. Mayo and younger brother Aidan train at the Gorin Tennis Academy in Granite Bay.
“Apparently, Roseville is the place for top national players,” Riffice’s mom, Lori, said in an e-mail.
Riffice won all of his matches during a tryout against other 13-year-old players to make the U.S. team. He’s ranked No. 1 in Northern California in boys 14 singles and No. 15 nationally by the USTA.
Riffice had a record of 82-28 in 2012. He won USTA Regional tournaments in singles and doubles in Coral Gables, Fla. (with partner Vasil Kirkov) and Carmel (with Reed Fratt). Riffice also captured the USTA Zone Team Championships, the Spare Time Clubs Memorial Day Junior Excellence and the Rio Del Oro Junior Championships.
Mayo was 78-17 last year and captured several tournaments, including the USTA National Open, when he scored four straight-set wins and went to three sets just once. Mayo won the Diamond Hills Junior Championships in Oakley, surrendering just seven games in five straight-set victories, and the NorCal Excellence in Fresno for the second year in a row with five straight-set victories, including two over players in the top 10. He won the USTA National Open Level 2 in Portland, Ore., and was a finalist in Claremont. Mayo also was a finalist at the USTA Level 3 Regional in Las Vegas.
In doubles, Mayo won the Courtside Junior Championships in Los Gatos with younger brother Aidan, who had a big year himself.
Aidan Mayo, 9, is ranked third in the nation in boys 9 singles. He’s also No. 33 in Northern California playing boys 12 singles.
Aidan Mayo had a 31-15 record in 2012 and won the Gold River Junior Open singles title and the Future Stars 2000’s Sacramento Junior Open doubles in June, all in the boys 12 division.
He began 2012 by winning the De Anza Start of the Year Junior Challenger in boys 12 and had runner-up singles finishes at the Sierra View Chill Out Open, the McKinley Park Junior Challenger and Future Stars Sacramento Junior Open. Mayo also finished third at the Little Mo national tournament in October in Austin, Texas.