The Pittsford Mendon senior Paul Barrett is gearing up for his final high school season after recovering from shoulder surgery. Barrett will play for St. Lawrence University beginning in the fall.
Like many children who go to a country club growing up Paul Barrett wasn’t interested in the tennis courts or golf course. Most of his time at the club was spent hanging out by the swimming pool.
On the advice of his mother the current Pittsford Mendon senior decided to try tennis. It started with lessons. Then, he began playing in tournaments. Pretty soon the allure of the swimming pool disappeared.
Barrett’s work has paid off as he earned a spot on the St. Lawrence men’s team for next year. Before heading to the North Country though Barrett will play his sixth season with the Mendon boys tennis team.
Barrett is looking forward to being healthy this spring after dealing with the lingering affects of a shoulder injury during his junior year.
“I feel great,” Barrett said. “I felt like I was playing better after (last) season ended I had a pretty good summer. My goal is to get back to the state tournament.”
Barrett immediately made an impression on Viking head coach Joe Thyroff who tabbed the seventh grader for the varsity team. He finished 10-1 at third doubles in his rookie season.
He earned a spot in the singles lineup during his freshman year and one season later qualified for the state tournament. Barrett’s state tournament run was more impressive when you consider the fact that he had to serve underhanded thanks to a nagging shoulder injury.
“He’s got a lot of of drive and passion for the sport,” Thyroff said. “Last season when he was hurt he did all he could for the team.”
Barrett found out he had a torn labrum after his sophomore season, which required surgery. After playing tennis year-round for several years, Barrett was forced to put the racquet down until the following January.
He played first singles for the Vikings last season but he admitted his confidence wasn’t what it used to be. Barrett’s junior year ended early thanks to an upset during the state qualifier tournament.
“I wasn’t as confident as the year before, Barrett said. (Thyroff) mentioned to me I wasn’t as confident as I was on the court. It definitely effected me. I didn’t qulaify for states and that was the biggest reason why.”
Growing up Barrett’s injury was so severe that he would sometimes play right-handed, even though he is left-handed. There were times when he his shoulder would pop in and out during a serve.
Barrett credits Billy Nealon, head pro at the Tennis Club of Rochester, for helping him improve his game despite the shoulder injury.
“I think he is a very creative player,” Nealon said. “He has the capability of playing any style that could be required, be played a long the baseline that includes offensively and defensively and he can play at the net comfortably. He has several shots in his arsenal.”
Page 2 of 2 - Barrett had designs on playing tennis at a Division I college and his search included schools such as Colgate. The injury forced him to reevaluate what he wanted in a school and he decided playing Division III would make more sense.
“I kind of like that situation where you know the professors and the professors know you and the other kids on campus,” said Barrett, who also looked at Vassar and Salisbury in Maryland during his college search. “I think it is going to be fun.”