Scott Gerber photographed the action photos and most, but not all, of the state qualifier group photos. Interview


OTZ Interview: Solon's Vlad Rotnov

OTZ's last interview of the season is with Vlad Rotnov. Rotnov is a senior at Solon and he will start OHSAA States tomorrow on Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. He will play against Olentangy's Stu Brdicka.

Vlad Rotnov
@ '16 States - Click to enlarge
During an interview conducted on May 15, Rotnov's described his playing style as "I'm not a super aggressive baseliner but I like to play on all parts of the court. I'd say that just waiting for a good rally ball from the baseline and taking any opportunity to move in is how I like to play." He added, "I don't wait for them to make errors but I try to make them make errors. I don't like losing points easily just because I'm not consistent."

He views his first serve and his forehand as his weapons. His first serve would be clocked at approximately 100mph.

After an early stint in hockey, which his older brother played, Rotnov started playing tennis. He began tennis at eight years old, and he enjoyed it but he did not have early success. His success began after he really started practicing at age 12. He also found that he really enjoyed competing and traveling with his friends.

Vlad Rotnov TRN Ranking
Rotnov's TRN Rankings (lower is better)
Rotnov is on a positive trajectory with his rankings as shown in the graph on the right. His ranking of 477 in 2014 has slowly improved to his current highest ranking of 200. His Universal Tennis Rating is at 11.66 and his OTZ player ranking is fourth.

Rotnov attributes his success to his demeanor. "I was struggling with staying super cool on the court and just forgetting about misses. ... I would think about it too much or get too upset or mad, and now I don't show it at all. .. That has allowed me to make many more balls and just enjoy the game a lot. Now I like practicing a lot more and that is all that I can think about."

Rotnov's parents are Alexander and Lana. His father is a building contractor and his mother works as a buyer at a shoe retailer. His father plays some tennis during the summer. His brother, Sergei, lives and works in Columbus as an IBM software engineer.

Rotnov is a math/science guy and he is interested in bio-chemistry and bio-med engineering. He took one AP course in high school - AP Spanish.

In addition to Denison, Rotnov was considering the University of Toledo and the College of Wooster as college choices. He choose Denison for several reasons. He stated, "My high school is pretty small. Our graduating class is 400 students and the whole school itself is about 1,700 students so Denison is a little bit of a step up with 2,300 students. It's a little bit bigger, it is a small town campus, and it is close to Columbus where my brother lives. They have a good academic program and they are going to have a very good tennis team." Rotnov also said that he really likes the chemistry of the tennis team. Rotnov will join fellow freshmen, Hilliard Bradley's Mitchell Thai, Ottawa Hill's Tyler Gargas, and Granville's John Purnode on the Denison team.

In his off time, he likes to swim, go to the gym, and ride his bike. As for the social networks, he uses SnapChat and InstaGram.

OTZ asked Solon coach, Jim Elwing, for a few words about Rotnov. He shared, "Vlad is a four year letterman at Solon High School. While playing #3 singles his freshman year he compiled a 22-5 record winning 10 matches 6-0, 6-0. His sophomore year he played #2 singles with a 24-2 record. He led the team playing #1 his junior and senior year going 48-6, plus reaching the state tournament both years. Vlad is a super kid, he is such a hard worker and really knows how to stay focused on his goals."

When asked what type of photo he would like for me to take of him, Rotnov said, "I really like running forehands". I asked if he thought that his opponents would cooperate with a shot that would give him a running forehand, Rotnov joked, "I'll leave that corner open..."

States begins tomorrow at 9am. See you there.