Columbia, South Carolina (The States, July 2, 2017): After missing the past two years because of injuries, Sean Nguyen couldn’t wait to get back on the tennis court.
The Irmo junior’s play showed that. Nguyen didn’t lose a match during the regular season and playoffs and helped the Yellow Jackets to a spot in the Class 5A Lower State semifinals.
Nguyen was named The State’s Midlands Boys Tennis Player of the Year for comeback season.
“The love for the game and drive to be great again was my motivation,” Nguyen said. “I always was a competitive person and I missed the competitive aspect of tennis. I think that really drove me to come back and be the player I am today.”
Nguyen grew up playing tennis when he was 4 years old. But the years of playing and practice, sometimes, five to six hours a day, took a toll on his body.
Nguyen was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his elbow from overuse but he tried to push through it. That ended up making it worse. He broke cartilage the size of quarters in his elbow.
The original time frame for his return was between six and 12 months, but Nguyen was out 13 months and missed his freshman and sophomore seasons at Irmo.
“It was a pretty rough journey coming back,” Nguyen said. “Everything felt a little weird trying to get my game back. It took a lot of effort, dedication and perseverance. I can honestly say I have never been happier with tennis in my life.”
Nguyen said the injury has helped him rest a little more and take a day off here and there to stay fresh.