Courting Destiny

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?

DC: Yeah.


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. 

DC: Yeah!

Dylan’s Dad: Or his new twins.