By Jake Socia and Casey Platenik
“D1 athlete and a D1 teammate” is what Jamesville-DeWitt High School junior Josh Frank said about the outstanding tennis skills of freshman Rob Dotterer. Comments about Dotterer’s game all seem to be the same, from “a great player” to “he is (freaking) amazing.” However Dotterer’s career did not start off like most kid prodigy stories, with Dotterer following his parents footsteps or starting the same time he learned to walk. Instead, Dotterer’s career began by getting a racket for his eighth birthday from his grandma, who just wanted him to try something new, and perhaps love something that she once loved. And love it he did.
Dotterer’s skills helped him make the varsity team in seventh grade where, as a 12 year old, he competed against players more than five years older than him. Despite the age difference, Dotterer qualified for sectionals in seventh grade and then for states in eighth grade.
So far in his three-year career Dotterer has played around 50 matches and has only lost five. Dotterer credits his success to his parents for motivating him to keep playing and being behind him all the time. In the 2014 season, Dotterer and his doubles partner, senior Raul Raina, were able to get a big win over Oneida to win sectionals. However, in their next match, at the interclass tournament where the best schools in Section III play each other to qualify for states, Dotterer and Raina lost in the first round to a doubles team from West Genesee. Although this is the end of his teammate’s season, Dotterer will continue playing and training throughout the year. He practices at Drumlin’s tennis club several times a week, working on his serve, which he believes needs a lot of work. Dotterer will also attend another camp in Florida, where he will be playing against other top notch players his age from around the country.
Though Dotterer is only a freshman, Frank says that upperclassmen look up to him because of his skill. Even though Dotterer has proven to be a fantastic player, college coaches don't start the recruiting process until around junior year, although sophomore teammate Alex Tso claims “he can go to any college he wants.” Dotterer dreams of becoming a D1 player at Villanova and does not seem far from reaching his goal. Since college is still several years away Dotterer wants to use his time focusing on making it to states for the rest of his high school career. Since Raina is a senior this year, Dotterer will transfer to a singles player because he believes there is not another player who will be as good of a partner as Raina. Dotterer would also like to someday play at the same level as his role model, Rafael Nadal.