Tim Kane quit tennis once.
You wouldn’t have known from watching him Friday.
Kane overpowered East Aurora sophomore Jack McClaren on the indoor courts at South Towns Tennis Club to win the Section VI singles championship, 6-0, 6-3.
Kane will now return to the state championships four years after his last tournament appearance.
He says he has no regrets about the time he spent away from tennis, but he’s glad to be back.
“I just won sectionals, so it was worth it. I’m having fun playing,” Kane said. “I’m thankful my teammates and family were here to support me.”
Kane first competed for a state title as a seventh grader, playing doubles with his older brother, Matt, a senior. The following year, Kane returned to the tournament in the singles bracket.
Once he started high school, Kane joined the United States Tennis Association (USTA) circuit, competing in events across the country.
It was fantastic competition, and Kane competed with the best of them. But the travel and the training took its toll. His free time was spent either practicing or traveling, and he sometimes missed entire weeks of school.
By his sophomore year, Kane lost his passion for the game and stopped playing altogether.
“I just didn’t love playing every day. Traveling every weekend, practicing four hours a day. I got sick of it,” he said.
Last spring, he joined the lacrosse team instead.
But after more than two years away from tennis, the itch to pick up a racket began to grow again. Kane decided to give it one last go in his senior year.
“I just wanted to play, see how I could do, see how far I could go,” he said.
Kane answered part of that question Friday.
“He’s a really good player and has a really good serve,” McClaren said. “My volleys definitely could’ve been a little better but I thought I played well overall.”
“It was a good match,” Kane added. “He was pushing me around a lot. I was moving behind the baseline a little too much.
“It could’ve been 6-4, 6-4. There was a lot of deuce games. Just a couple points here or there. I served well so that was good.”
Kane also beat McClaren in the ECIC tournament a week ago, 6-0, 6-2.
The last stop on Kane’s high school career is USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, where the state matches begin on Thursday.
The top three singles players and doubles teams at the sectionals all advance to states.
Kane and McClaren will be joined by Williamsville North’s Mike Kessler, who beat North Tonawanda’s Andrew LeMar in the third-place match, 6-2, 6-3.
McClaren lost the third-place match last year and narrowly missed a trip to states.
Joe Bartelo and Tony Podgorsak of Williamsville South won the Section VI doubles championship by beating Orchard Park’s Tommy Baldinger and Kevin Zablonski, 6-2, 6-2.
They’ll be joined at states by Panama’s Bryce and Jack Payne, who rallied to beat Orchard Park’s Zander Korach and Dan Freilicher in the third-place match, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Kane thinks he has a shot at a title if he stays aggressive and plays consistently. He contends the time off didn’t affect his game, but admits he’s not totally comfortable yet.
“My rhythm, I’m still trying to get that back,” he said.
Kane will play Division I tennis at Duquesne next year.