Tennis teens play for national stardom

John Burroughs School freshman Samanth Remis  placed second individually in state.


John Burroughs School freshman Samantha Remis and Parkway Central High School sophomore Zoe Hahn are nationally ranked tennis players.

“I love most parts of tennis,” Samantha said. “I really like being out there, and I just really enjoy playing. It can be hard to be there by yourself when there’s no one to talk to if you’re struggling, but it’s really rewarding.”

As of December, Zoe ranked first in St. Louis and seventh in Missouri. She says she currently ranks “about 600th” nationally. Samantha ranks 292nd nationally in girls 14 and under.  

“It was about a year ago when I first realized I was good,” Zoe said. “When I had a tournament and I remember seeing all the names signed up thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, these people are really good’ and that whoever gets to the finals are the best people in St. Louis. Then I got second place.”

The girls practice at Creve Coeur Racquet Club and are coached by Troy Bray. Zoe also is coached by Matt Kulker. They also each play competitively for their high school teams.

Samantha says she likes playing individually and on a team. 

“It’s really just a different atmosphere,” Samantha said. “High school season had much more of a team aspect, and there’s a high school coach who can help you, and your matches help the team advance and do well. With individual matches, it just affects my rankings, but it’s really fun to play.”

In the 2016 high school tennis season this past fall, Samantha claimed second individually in state and John Burroughs won state as a team in the Class 1 Division. Parkway Central, where Zoe attends, obtained a third place finish in state for Class 2. Class 1 is for smaller schools and Class 2 is for larger schools.

“With playing in high school, you’re working as a team until you get to individual state,” Zoe said. “Nationally, you’re on your own. It’s all up to you.”

According to the girls, family is what got both of them into the sport. Samantha’s older brother, John Burroughs School junior and Ohr Chadash writer Ben Remis, is also nationally ranked. Zoe’s father and sister play as well.

“I started because of my dad,” Zoe said. “He introduced me to [tennis]. I also wanted to try it and once I started, I found out that I loved it.”

As for what’s next, the high school players have thought about playing in college, but neither of them have decided where they want to go.

“My goals have changed a bit,” Zoe said. “I want to hopefully be No. 1 on varsity, make it to state again, and possibly play in college.”

Zoe was a member of the varsity team this year, made up of 11 girls. 

Samantha also is a member of her varsity team.

“I’ve had a lot of different and fun times over the years,” Samantha said of tennis. “I don’t know what my favorite memory would be most of all.”

The two tennis players still have at least two more seasons of high school tennis, and multiple seasons of club tennis. With secure futures ahead of them, through playing national and state-level matches, everyone should keep their eyes  on these two as they keep striving to reach their best.