Given that Kane Vu treats life as a tennis match, it’s hardly a surprise that success comes easily.
There is the undefeated 6-0 league record he has tallied as Bellarmine Prep’s top-ranked singles player. A 4.0 grade-point average he maintains by attacking schoolwork with the same intensity that he crushes points on the court. And the plan to use his affinity for problem-solving to make it back to the state tournament — and become a doctor.
“I’m really happy about this season,” said Vu, a junior who in 2015 finished third at state in Class 4A doubles alongside Lions stalwart Joe Lyon. “Going into it, it was a little intimidating because it’s a new league, (but) I don’t think it could have gone any better than it has been.”
Vu said his mental game is key to his performance.
“A lot of the guys I play are really good,” he said. “But it comes down to one or two points to decide the whole match, and I know they’re working their hardest, too, so I really have to focus.
“Once I’m able to figure (my opponent) out, I can see how my different styles work and how I can convert the points and then win sets.”
Bellarmine coach Dick Snyder said Vu is an exceptionally calm and thoughtful player.
“A lot of times, it’s above the neck: your mental approach and discipline and body language,” he said. “He’s very good at all of those things.”
Vu said the outcome of last season was a surprise. He played singles as a freshman and practiced just once with Lyon before their first match.
Snyder said making it out of a tough South Puget Sound League will be a challenge, but that Vu has an advantage over the competition.
“That experience alone — in his sophomore year, which is fairly early to get to state — is huge,” he said. “You can’t replicate that in practice.”
While Vu said playing with a partner is a morale booster, he prefers being on the court alone.
“I like the challenge of coming out and having to figure it out for myself,” he said.
Snyder said being able to play both singles and doubles is beneficial, but in Vu’s case, it’s “indicative of the kind of player he is.”
“Kane is superior in both,” he said. “That’s a tribute to his adaptability.”
Vu grew up playing soccer, but switched to tennis at age nine, and in addition to competing for Bellarmine, also plays in United States Tennis Association tournaments. He said he would like continue playing in college, but with an eye toward medical school, his primary focus is academics.
“I like the idea of being able to help other people,” he said.
It’s a desire that he exemplifies on the court, too.
Junior Alex Collie said Vu is committed to helping his teammates meet their potential.
“He helps everyone out,” said Collie, who has played with Vu for three years. “You’ll be playing against him ,and he’ll be giving you tips.”