Boys Tennis: Payton’s Darrell Robbins is the real deal
Updated: May 9, 2012 6:50PM
Darrell Robbins likes to collect snow globes. The most notable of his collection is a crescent-shaped one with a model of Chicago that he gives an occasional shake.
The senior has been shaking up the city tennis scene ever since he walked on the Payton campus as a freshman. He has won three individual city championships while helping his team to three city titles.
“It’s kind of weird, but it’s what I like to do,” Robbins said of his snow globe collection.
Robbins has been steadily building his game, and much of his improvement has come just with physical growth. He weighed about 120 pounds as a freshman. Now he’s a 6-foot, 160-pounder.
“He was a solid player when he was a freshman, but he was a little guy,’’ Payton coach Walter Kinderman said. “Every year he’s gotten stronger and stronger and stronger.”
His smaller stature didn’t hurt him in the city tournaments. As a freshman, he won the No. 2 singles title, then helped his team beat Young when he upset Anthony Warren at No. 1 singles. Robbins has gone on to claim a second and two firsts at No. 1 singles.
Robbins has qualified for state twice. His best showing was when he finished in the top 48 as a freshman.
“I really want to qualify for state for sure, but I [also] want to win sectionals,” he said. “I’ve come close before but never won it. And I really want to make a run at state this year.’’
Robbins credits much of the improvement in his game to Waverly Hill, with whom he has worked since freshman year. Hill has helped the right-hander improve to a No. 71 ranking in the Great Lakes Region, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
“I didn’t have any real offensive weapons,’’ Robbins said. “He smoothed my forehand out a lot. When I get down in a match, he taught me to hang tough and try to fight back into it.’’
Robbins plans to walk on at Indiana, where he will major in physics.
“He’s done very well at one of the top academic schools in the state,’’ Kinderman said. “He’s got a really high tennis IQ. When he’s on the court, he’s really smart.’’