5 min read
Last month, Nicholas Heng captured the biggest title of his young career, right after making his first pro final on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT). The teen has skillfully used the PTT to get a feel for the pro game while using the consistent match play to prepare for his college career at Auburn University.
Winning Gold in Delray Beach
Across eight days in mid-July, Heng won seven matches to secure the gold ball at the USTA National Boys Clay Court Championships in Delray Beach. The 18-year-old Alabama native was the No. 4 seed and had finished runner-up in the same event one year earlier.
A lot can change in one year. Heng has made huge strides as he gets ready to set his sights on the college tennis world at Auburn this fall.
“I would say that PTT has helped me prepare for college mainly because there are a lot of college guys I've always played in these tournaments, and adjusting to a bigger game has been really helpful for me,” Heng told Universal Tennis.
Getting Matchplay on the PTT
In April 2021, Heng played his first pro event at the Atlanta PTT $25K, going 2-4 in match play and qualifying for the 4th Place Playoffs. Just over a year later, competing in his ninth PTT event, in Rome, Ga. during the week of June 20, Heng won all four of his round-robin matches. In 1st Playoff action, he beat Andrew Lutschaunig before falling to Georgia Tech sophomore Keshav Chopra in the final.
“I wanted to enter this tournament mainly because I actually have National Clays in around two weeks,” Heng said in Rome. “I really wanted to play
The schedule worked out perfectly as he went on to win Clay Nationals. Now he's focused on getting as many matches as possible to prepare for his freshman year.
“I've got a pretty ambitious summer, I'd say," Heng said. "I feel like this tournament, and the PTT I played before, really ties into my goals for the summer because sometimes it's just really hard to go into a match after you haven't played a tournament in a while.”
Transitioning to the Next Level
Assuming everything continues to go well, Heng plans to go pro after college. Playing so much on the PTT has helped him gauge his level to see what he needs to work on in the years ahead.
“I would say the PTTs have helped me understand the pro level a little more because there's a lot of players that have played ITF Futures,” he said. “It's pretty unique for me to be able to play someone like that because I've always just been playing juniors in the U.S. It's definitely something that can help me transition better into playing pro.”
About the UTR Pro Tennis Tour
The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.
For more information about UTR PTT and to see all of the results, click here.