At 8 years old, Hermosa Beach’s Dylan Charlap isn’t waiting for double digits to become a top competitor in his favorite sport.
Dressed in a bright blue polo shirt, Dylan Charlap looks like a tennis star even when he’s not on the court. Only one year after he first began competing, Dylan is listed as the #1 tennis player in Southern California for ages 10 and under by the Satellite U.S. Tennis Association.
He practices several times a week at The Jack Kramer Club with coach Dennis Rizza, and during competitions he uses his knack for math to track points without help from a scoreboard. His parents note how Dylan’s love of the game made tennis a family sport. We all sat down in their kitchen to chat about preparation, school and his dream match.
You were ranked #1 recently. How did you celebrate?
Dylan Charlap: All my friends came to cheer me on, and we all went out for dinner together.
That must have been fun. Did you get a trophy?
Where did you put it?
DC: It’s in my room, on the top shelf, next to my other trophies and my signed Roger Federer cap.
So how do you prepare for a match?
DC: I get a good night’s sleep, and then I wake up in the morning and have a nice, relaxing morning. Then I get dressed and have a protein bar a half-hour before my match. Then I warm up for 15 minutes and get ready to play.
What do you tell yourself before the match to psych yourself up to play?
DC: I’m always excited. But I always tell myself that I’m going to lose half the points and win half of them. And I tell myself not to get mad when I hit a ball out. I’m working on that.
It’s good to stay positive, but it’s tough.
DC: Yeah, it is.
Do you play other sports at school?
DC: I swim to help me with tennis, so that I don’t get so tired.
Your dad told me that you’re doing really well in school. What subjects do you like the most?
DC: I like math and art. My art teacher always gives us awesome projects, and math is just fun. I love math.
Do you ever think about tennis while you’re at school?
DC: I practice my serve motion with my pencil all the time.
If you could play tennis with anyone, whom would you play against?
DC: Roger Federer.
Do you have any goals for tennis when you grow up?
DC: I want to be a professional.
Cool! Then maybe one day you could play with Federer.
Dylan’s Dad: Or his new twins.