Island’s next high school tennis star from Brentwood Bay

Fourteen-year-old from Brentwood Bay is emerging as an elite junior player on the Island

There’s only so many tournaments a player can win before his name begins to catch on in the tennis community.

And that name is Aaron Diemer.

The 14-year-old from Brentwood Bay is emerging as an elite junior player on the Island. He recently finished 27th out of 40 at the national indoor tennis championships and was fifth in doubles play with Owen Stinson of the Mainland.

Currently, Diemer is slicing his way through the high school tennis circuit.

Considering few under-18 players on the Island can beat him, it’s no surprise the Grade 8 student is a deal breaker when he plays for the Pacific Christian School Pacers. Despite being the “young kid” in the school league, he’s undefeated in singles and mixed doubles play. The Pacers are 2-0 when he played and 0-1 when he didn’t.

“I like the school league because it gives me variety,” Diemer said. “I’m used to going to Vancouver to play so almost all the players in school tennis I haven’t played before.”

In short, Diemer is on the rise as Victoria’s next big tennis name.

Diemer’s not taking anyone by surprise anymore, whether it’s against  juniors or adults.

“Diemer was 13 when I met him and already beating adults,” said PCS athletics director John Stewart. “He’s a little phenom, though he’s probably 5-foot-10 already.”

Diemer acts and speaks maturely, and carries himself well.

But he’s ferocious on the court.

Diemer won the recent Triple Knockout event at Panorama Recreation Centre, an open men’s tournament.

If there’s a challenge for Diemer at the school level, it’s being a good doubles partner, he said.

“Learning how the partner plays and how to communicate is new. We’ve won all our games so far together, so it’s going well.”

His dad Greg, a former pro in the Netherlands before he moved here, can be credited for passing the passion on to Aaron and elder brother Daniel, 16 and in Grade 11 at PCS.

The brothers started playing competitively within a few months of each other just over three years ago. Daniel can smash the ball as well as any 16-year-old in Victoria. Nonetheless, he’s humbly conceded the brotherly rivalry is already in Aaron’s favour.

“Aaron hits very consistently. Even though I hit with more strength and serve harder, he has adjusted to it,” Daniel said. “Our games were pretty close until the last eight months. Now (Aaron) can beat me more often.”

It was actually Daniel, a certified coach, who helped jumpstart the Pacers tennis team this season with Grade 12 Nina Radisavljevic.

“(Daniel and Nina) came to me and said, ‘Hey can we do this?’” Stewart said.

“There hasn’t been a team here for at least 19 years, and I’ve been hesitant to create one, because it’s not a recreational league. It’s pretty tough,” Stewart added.

Most school players also play outside of school and are strong, but with Daniel and Aaron, the Pacers can take a crack at the Island championships.

Nina’s also played outside of school, and so has her sister Mateya, a Grade 10 student who regularly partners with Aaron to form the Pacers’ mixed doubles team.

As a coach, Daniel splits his time with the team between playing on Wednesdays and instructing the 12-member team with adult coach Chris Stewart, a former golf pro with plenty of tennis experience.

“I know I don’t have as much experience as other coaches but it doesn’t affect me too much,” Daniel said.

“I know what I do know, that I have some knowledge, and a lot of what we work on is basics.”