He is back after five years of tennis in the United States: Sander Jans. He won the first edition of GLTB’s two-star National Ranking Tournament (NRT). TAM player Amber Maalderink made her placement in the women’s squad.
Jans returned in May of this year from Magnolia, Arkansas, where he spent the last two years of his American studies. He played tennis for Southern Arkansas University, aka the Mule Riders, a three-hour drive from Dallas, Texas. De Rodenaar, now 26, is one of many strong tennis players in the Netherlands who combine one or more years of study and tennis with an American college .
His highlight there? Jans doesn’t need to think long. ,,It was reaching the Nationals, the national final of the college tennis , which the top 16 teams in the United States qualified for. So we were part of the top 16 teams, but in the second division, the second level. We went out in the first round of Nationals, but it was an unforgettable experience.”
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration there and Jans will now move back to the Netherlands permanently. Tennis remains his main activity for the moment. Jans was once among the top 20 tennis players in the Netherlands, just like his younger brother Jarno (he’s 10th) and Sander would like to regain that position. ,,Because of America, I no longer have a high ranking in the Netherlands, but I don’t think my tennis has deteriorated. I spent a lot of time on the track there, although I also had some nasty wrist and elbow injuries. But they left, I can hit full again.”
Hard against Frisian talent
This became evident in the final, where Jans got off to a rocky start against 19-year-old Buitenpost talent Kjell de Hek. De Hek is on the rise: last week he also reached a final in a two-star NRT, that of the TAM in Groningen. Edward Etty de Hoorn was then too strong for him.
Jans had all the trouble with the young Frisian in the first set of a match where the two players alternated fine winners and unnecessary misses. De Hek won the first set 6-3. But Jans’ routine was the deciding factor. In the second set, the Rode native remained calm and won 6-4. The third lasted a long time. At 4-3, Jans broke De Hek’s serve and was able to serve: 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Jans also won the doubles, with compatriot Drent Robin Grit. The Drenthe duo won against Boas Deden and Jouke Jan Schaap (6-4. 7-6).
Maalderink wins his third NRT
Amber Maalderink (23) won the women’s race. After his victory at his own TAM last week and last year at Veracket, this means his third NRT victory. The Achterhoek native, who grew up in Zelhem and is 52nd in the Dutch rankings, beat Utrecht’s Anoek Pruijmboom in the final, who reached the semis at TAM last week.
With two 6-2 wins, Maalderink was clearly too strong for the 19-year-old, who also just returned from the United States. “I had trouble with the gravel,” said Maalderink, who is in her fifth year at TAM and hopes to finish her studies in human movement science soon. ,, I’m so used to breaking the court, these balls are bouncing high for me here. But sometimes when I was struggling, she just started making mistakes.”
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