Tennis pays tuition for CSL's Rath

BY MARK LIDBETTER - The Suburban

Côte St. Luc’s Zachary Rath learned to love tennis at an early age and has turned that commitment to a full scholarship at the NCAA level with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Rath, 20, is now in his junior year at the college and is majoring in management.

He was a GMAA champion for Bialik High School and was ranked as Canada’s top 18-and-under singles player.

After that, he turned his attention towards getting an education at a U.S. college through a tennis scholarship.

“The rules say you can apply to all you want but you can only visit five,” he said. “I had just returned from my fourth trip to a school when Georgia Tech contacted me. I made Georgia Tech my choice because of their reputation for excellence.”

With the school year wrapping up, he’ll be back in Côte St. Luc this summer, taking his post as tennis pro at the Côte St. Luc Tennis Club. Rath is a regular at the club, having spent most of his summers there since he was nine.

“My parents (Sidney and Beverly Rath) were members of the Côte St. Luc Tennis Club so I started playing at the age of nine,” Rath said. “It was about a year after that when I started competing in 10-and-under tournaments.”

By 13, Rath says he felt tennis could be a path he could pursue to higher levels of competition. Three years ago he made his debut with the Yellow Jackets.

“It was tough my first year, both academically and athletically, but you learn how to budget your time for everything.”

Now Rath is playing up the list of players and is partnered with sophomore Scott Blackmon. They are enjoying success in doubles competition.

“We play so well together,” he said. “We’ll be even better next season.”

Rath is a power-serving player who has improved his ground strokes and is looking to become more aggressive on the court.

“I don’t have any big holes in my game,” he said. “I need to work on a couple of things to improve my overall game.”

Rath attributes his improvement to the coaching he gets from Georgia Tech’s Kenny Thorne.

“He’s made a huge difference in my game,” he said.

Rath pays close attention to the drills and practice sessions he and his teammates go through not just to improve his skills but to use when he returns home for the summer.

“I love coming home in the summer and getting the chance to teach and compete back home.”

Once Rath graduates, he would like to take a crack at the pro tour.

“I want to try and see how I do in some pro events,” he said.

“I will always have my education to rely on once I get to experience playing as a pro.”

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