Good Sports - Billy Griffith
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's almost 100 degrees in northeast Fresno but 16 year old Billy Griffith isn't fazed, still working with his coach, fine tuning his game, little by little.
"I can still improve my serve for sure as I get bigger I can get more pop on it," said Griffith. "And just keep improving my ground strokes, getting a little more power when I get more size."
"His progress was pretty exceptional," said Griffith's tennis coach, Brad Stine. "When I started working with him he was ranked about 70 in the section, in the boys 12's. And now top 20 in the nation in boys' 16's."
He's Stine 360 Tennis Academy's top player, and this past season as a sophomore, Griffith was the number one player on Clovis West's fourth straight valley championship team.
"I think next year our team is going to be really good," Griffith said. "I think we have another chance to win."
Outside of school, Griffith's resume is even more impressive. He would be the top-ranked 16-and-under player in northern California, if he still played in that division. But after reaching the number one ranking, Griffith chose to continue testing himself by moving up an age group. He is currently ranked in the top 15 of the 18-and-under division.
"He wants to win, And he'll do anything he can within the rules to try and figure out a way to solve the puzzle and get a win when he's doing that," said Stine.
There's no doubt Griffith has the talent, but as a sponsored athlete with equipment discounts not available to other players, what sets him apart is his genuine willingness to give back.
"I know it's important to always give back," Griffith said, "and I think it's kind of cool if they wear the same shirts as me sometimes at practice. It looks kind of cool"
And that has earned him the love and respect of his peers, and even Stine, who has coached the best of the best for 25 years but still wants to see Griffith succeed in the future.
"He is the guy you want to cheer for," said Stine. "He's an easy guy to want to see win and do well. He's committed a lot of time and energy and effort to get to be as good as he is right now."
"My goals right now are probably to play for a division one college," said Griffith, "and then I think just get my ranking up. And then if I would go from there I'd love to play pro tennis. That'd be my goal right now."
And with Griffith's track record and incomparable desire to win, to one is betting against him.
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