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Quakertown’s Max Arkans wins National Public Parks Tennis Championship

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Quakertown Community High School rising junior Max Arkans won the 2022 National Public Parks Tennis Championship (NPPTC) for the under 18 singles division on July 24.

Arkans succeeded in every round of the 16-person division, including a victory over first seed Mark Lancaster of Lower Merion 2-4, 4-1, (7-1) in the semifinals before he defeated Downingtown’s Leo Shi in the final round 4-2, 2-0.

For Arkans, the victory signified his ability to compete against the area’s top competition. “The tournament win was big for me because it boosted my confidence a lot. I had two really long matches against two really good kids,” said Arkans. “I knew I belonged there, which made me feel great.”

The Bucks County Tennis Association (BCTA) hosted the event at Council Rock North, which was the first time that the NPPTC was held in the Philadelphia area since 1926. It was a part of a larger weekend for the NPPTC that featured promotional events, such as a reproduction of the “Original 9” exhibit honoring the nine women who started the women’s professional tennis tour and a Bucks County Tennis trail that sent participants to tennis courts in public parks.

The conditions at the tournament were suboptimal for the participants; temperatures ranged from the high 90s to the low 100s in degrees Fahrenheit. Participants dealt with the heat by bringing umbrellas to block out the sun and coolers to keep their drinks cold. The tournament format was changed from six-game sets to four to diminish the time players spent playing in the heat.

Arkans, however, felt that the conditions played to his strengths. His experience and endurance-intensive play style allowed him to adapt to the heat while his opponents struggled.

“The way that I play is that I just try to get every ball back. I don’t usually miss a lot, I just try to make my opponent miss,” explained Arkans.

Arkans displayed his tennis ability during his high school play last season. As a sophomore, Arkans won what is believed to be Quakertown’s first-ever district tennis victory at the PIAA tournament in Springfield. This came after he achieved second place in the SOL Liberty Division Singles Championship.

Due to the team’s camaraderie, Arkans enjoys playing as a member of the Quakertown varsity boys tennis team even when the team as a whole does not succeed. He commented, “Being part of such a great group of guys makes me feel really good about our season. Although our record may not say it, I think we’re having a lot of fun out there.”

Tennis has been a part of Arkans’ life since he was 5 years old. His father first introduced him to the sport and got him into a Bucks County tennis program where Arkans learned the basics. He experienced competitive success from a young age, which encouraged him to continue with the sport.

“Tennis stuck out to me because it was easy for me to catch on. I realized I could be really good at this,” said Arkans. “From the moment I was able to hold a racket I started playing.”

Besides his physical development, emotional development also came for Arkans as he gained more experience as a player. He explained that, when he was younger, he had trouble keeping his temper after losing points and often resorted to throwing his racket out of frustration.

“If I would start to lose a point I would get really angry. Since then I’ve learned to calm down after points and my composure has been way better,” said Arkans.

Arkans wishes to continue to grow as a tennis player and to pursue a career in tennis in the future. His goals for the rest of his high school career include winning the SOL Liberty Division Singles Championship and two rounds of districts before he graduates.

He hopes to continue to play tennis in college at either the Division I or II level and to pursue a degree in sports management, particularly the newly created USTA Professional Tennis Management program if it is offered at his school.


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