By June Peers
Junior Rocco Melendez is a dedicated tennis player who has been playing the sport since he was eight years old. He demonstrates his commitment to tennis by commuting from Woodland Hills to Granada Hills all on his bicycle. With having to travel such a far distance, while also dropping off his younger brother, it takes him a total of 50 minutes just to get to school.
“I feel proud that I’m able to bike every day, and I feel good that I’m getting exercise as well,” Melendez said.
Though his biking routine can be strenuous, Melendez views his biking commute as a way to be independent, giving him the ability to create his own schedule.
“I’m managing myself a little more by leaving whenever I want, in the sense that I don’t need to leave tennis practice at a specific time, which gives me freedom,” Melendez said.
Melendez’s local school is not as academically rigorous as Granada Hills Charter (GHC), which is why he explains he is willing to travel so far just for school. His father really wanted Melendez to go to GHC, despite his inability to pick him up from school. They applied anyway as they were both willing to make sacrifices in order for Melendez to receive a better education. He was eventually accepted into the school, and so his commute began. Despite his long commute every day, he is still confident in his choice of coming to GHC.
“I am very glad I chose to come to Granada because the overall school environment, with its open campus and beautiful nature, is really nice. There’s a ton of clubs, and the tennis team offers a great program.”
Throughout Melendez’s many years of playing tennis, he has won various awards. His most notable award was in ninth grade when he won a sportsmanship award from USCAA. He has also won several trophies from various tennis tournaments.
In the summer, he is planning to go to Chile to compete in a tennis tournament. Chile will mark the farthest place from home that he has ever competed. Currently, the farthest he has traveled to compete in a tennis tournament is Orlando, Florida.
Melendez not only has plans for this summer but also for his future in college and beyond. For him, the prestige and success of a college’s tennis program will be a part of the college decision process due to his passion for the sport.
Additionally, he aspires to one day become a professional tennis player. He acknowledges that getting to the professional league is very competitive, but is willing to take the opportunity of going professional if it is given.
From the early age of eight, he played tennis with his father, who served as a great inspiration to him throughout his childhood. When first introduced to the game of tennis by his father, Melendez found himself completely enthralled. From these tennis matches, he gained a passion and appreciation for tennis.
His father also played a role in his career aspirations. Owning his own advisory consultant business, Melendez’s father provided him with the opportunity to have hands-on experience in the development of software and networks. Melendez was able to create the company website, and enjoyed getting paid for doing something he was interested in.
Overall, he can thank his current success in the sport and his career aspirations to his father.