This is... Long Beach's Liam Alvarez - USTA Southern California
Junior News

This is… Long Beach’s Liam Alvarez

Not even five years ago, Liam Alvarez was a soccer player who occasionally picked up a tennis racquet to rally with his dad on court. It didn’t take long for Liam to feel comfortable in the game, and the results were evident when Liam saw his name atop the SoCal rankings in his age division.

That’s pretty quick leap for someone new to the game, but Liam found the biggest appeal was one-on-one competition. In soccer, a player controls the ball in head-to-head battle for a few seconds before passing the ball to a teammate. On the tennis court, every point is on Liam’s racquet, and he likes it that way.

Still, the sports have similar characteristics that helped Liam get comfortable – and competitive – in a hurry. “(Soccer involves) a lot of footwork and cardio,” Liam said before also comparing the athleticism of basketball, a sport he regularly enjoys with his brother. “In basketball,” he added, “I play for fun. It’s similar (to tennis), like reading movements, keeping balance, and staying one step ahead.”

An accomplished tennis player from Mexico, Liam’s dad helped train the young man from Long Beach during the lengthy pandemic break, helping Liam excel from entry level novice to the top of his age bracket. Today, Liam has experienced tournament play across the nation, and he realizes there’s a lot to learn from the competition outside of the familiar environs of Southern California.

Coming off two straight finals early in ’21, followed by summer success in Texas (winning an L2 event) and Florida (National Clay quarters), and the finals at Junior Sectionals, Liam has learned to study opponents’ repertoires to adapt and enhance his own game. While SoCal is known for big powerful games, other regions are more varied in play styles, from serve and volley to heavy slices and angles. “I enjoyed traveling (to Texas and Florida) and seeing where my game ranks with theirs,” he said.

“When I travel,” he added, “I realize some players do things better than me, like their form or the shots they hit.” But Liam says he has learned to read these traits and find ways to add them to his own arsenal, another reason he’s having a breakout 2021 that he simply calls his “best year” so far.

He’s currently working on strengthening his backhand, and at 13 years old, his eyes are set on holding his own against the 16s division. At this rate, it’s hard to bet against him.