Boys Tennis: New Trier’s Hiltzik, Fawcett take Midwest Closed by storm
New Trier's Aron Hiltzik returns a shot during the Hinsdale Central High School Jay Kramer Boys Tennis Invitational. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 7:01AM
If the broadcast of a Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic Grand Slam final is the lead-in to highlights of your match, it’s safe to say you are starting to make it as a tennis player.
That is what happened to New Trier’s Aron Hiltzik earlier this month when bits of his 16-and-under final of the Easter Bowl Tournament, in California, were broadcast on Tennis Channel, just after the World No. 2 got finished beating the World No. 1.
The junior match, which Hiltzik lost 7-5, 6-1 to Joseph Di Guilio, was part of a documentary about the tournament, which had taken place April 8-15.
“I watched the documentary (when it aired the first time) and then two re-runs. It was on four times total. We watched it and recorded it,” the Wilmette resident said. “It definitely was very cool. A great experience.”
The final was one of the best moments of a tumultuous spring for Hiltzik, who started the season playing singles for New Trier, only to depart, along with his highly-rated older brother Jared, just weeks before the postseason.
The Hiltziks’ decision to leave the team reportedly came after they missed a practice while attending the Big Ten tennis championships in Evanston. Jared Hiltzik has signed on to play at Illinois next season.
Aron said the brothers and Eckert had agreed the Hiltziks would be allowed to pursue certain tennis opportunities during the season. But after the missed practice, Aron said the coach cooled on giving the brothers so much freedom.
“We were like, ‘You know, it’s time to part ways,’ ” Aron said.
“It was weird because I kind of saw it coming at the beginning of the year, and was not sure if I really wanted to play. But my brother was going to play and I didn’t want to miss the experience with my brother. When he decided to quit, I was like, ‘I’m with you.’ ”
Aron, who will be a junior, said there is a “very low chance” he would play high school tennis again.
The brothers’ departure gave other New Trier players an opportunity, and they responded by leading the Trevians to runner-up at the IHSA state meet.
“That was great,” Aron said. “We love all the guys on the team and it was great they had an opportunity to do something big.”
Aron Hiltzik’s departure also allowed him to compete in the USTA National Open in Grand Rapids, Mich., last month, where he finished third in the 18-and-under division.
This week, he’s playing in the 18-and-under bracket at the USTA/Midwest Section Closed Junior Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis. As of Monday, the No. 16 seeded Hiltzik was still alive, winning his first three matches in straight sets.
Also competing in Indianapolis is Hiltizk’s classmate at New Trier, Tom Fawcett, who was the No. 6 seed at 18-and-under.
Fawcett, from Winnetka, who did not play high school tennis as a sophomore in 2012, was eliminated with his 6-4, 6-4 loss to 22nd-seeded Paul Oosterbaan (Kalamazoo, Mich.) in the round of 32.
On Monday, Fawcett and doubles partner Ed Covalshi (Shelby Township, Mich.) booked their place in the doubles final.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Facwcett Though still qualifies for 16-and-under, but competes well against older players. He says he’s recovered from shoulder injuries suffered over the winter.
“I’ve had so many injuries, but I’ve been working on my upper-body and getting stronger, and that’s been helping. I haven’t had an injury in three months,” said Fawcett, who began specialized training at EFT Sports Performance in Highland Park last winter.
Fawcett said his decision last summer to start working with coach Billy Heiser, of the Glenbrook Racquet Club, has been a good one.
“We’ve done a lot of technical work and he’s made me mentally stronger,” Fawcett said. “That’s what he focuses on a lot, to get me to work through tough situations (in a match).”