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Rhyne Williams

tennis player
Full name: Robert Rhyne Williams
Nickname: Rhyno
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Bio He is an American tennis player. He has not played on the ATP Tour since 2018 and is currently a tennis coach at the University of Tennessee.

Williams first played on the professional circuit in 2006, but turned full-time professional in July 2011. Williams is the nephew of Mike De Palmer former ATP pro (Top 35 in Singles, Top 20 in Doubles) who coached Boris Becker from 1994–99. He is the grandson of Mike DePalmer Sr, a coach at University of Tennessee (from 1981–94). His grandfather is a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame and is the co-founder of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Rhyne has a career-high ranking of world no. 114.

Robert Rhyne Williams (nickname is Rhyno) is the second child of Robert Rhyne Williams Sr. (Bob) and Michelle DePalmer-Williams. Bob played college tennis at Duke University, Michelle and uncle Mike played at University of Tennessee. Michelle is a former Top 100 Pro and Orange Bowl 16s Champion. Uncle Mike is a former top-35 singles and top-20 doubles player. Both sisters (Jennifer and Caitlyn) also grew up playing tennis with Caitlyn currently on the Lady Vols Team. Jennifer played for Birmingham-Southern College.

Rhyne is the grandson of Mike DePalmer Sr., a long time coach at UT (from 1981–94). His grandfather, a member of the ITA Hall of Fame, co-founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. The academy was created to train little Michelle.

Rhyne also played baseball and basketball during his childhood and once considered choosing baseball over tennis.

Rhyne is currently coached by his cousin, Christopher Williams. He trains at the USTA headquarter in Boca Raton and shares an apartment with his best friend and former vol teammate, Tennys Sandgren. He enjoys playing golf and fishing during free time. His favorite quote is "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail".

Rhyne was coached by his grandfather, but he went on to train under the USTA Player's Development Program after winning the Junior Orange Bowl 14s. He was a Top 10 Junior in the world (Career High No.8).

Rhyne won the USA F16 in Pittsburgh in 2007 at the age of 16 years and 3 months, which made him the youngest U.S. male to win an ITF Men's Circuit event in the United States (however, stats for this are held since 1998). After winning the title, he focused on the pro circuit and didn't play any junior event in 2008 until the US Open Junior Tennis Championships (last junior tournament of his career).

Past coaches include Michelle DePalmer-Williams, Mike DePalmer Sr., Mike DePalmer Jr., Dustin Taylor, Andres Pedroso, Martin Van Daalen.

Since claiming his 1st futures title in 2007, Williams couldn't handle the pressure of turning pro and decided to go to college, "I guess the main reason I went to school was to mature," he recalls. "It gave me a chance to get away from the pressure. I was thinking about it and I started to kind of hating tennis for a while, and I wanted to get away from the pro tennis deal. So I went to school, matured, and started enjoying tennis again.

Williams played two years of college tennis for his hometown Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee under head coach Sam Winterbotham and associate head coach Chris Woodruff. He enjoyed one of the best two seasons of any player in program history with accomplishments including: All-America honors in 2010 and 2011, earning the No. 1 national singles ranking in 2011 and reaching the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships. He finished his career with an 83–17 singles and 66–14 doubles record.

With his family history, Williams was a sensible fit to the Tennessee program. His grandfather, Mike DePalmer Sr., is the most successful head coach in Volunteer history[citation needed], and his mother and uncle were both All-Americans in Knoxville. He started out his career with a splash, earning 2010 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors and helping the team to the NCAA finals. He became one of the top singles players in the country as a sophomore in 2010–11. He defeated Steve Johnson of the University of Southern California in the finals of the 2010 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships to become the third Tennessee player in program history to win the event. The victory boosted Williams to No. 1 nationally in the ITA singles rankings the following January. Williams played at the No. 1 and 2 singles positions during the team season and played doubles with fellow Tennessee native Tennys Sandgren. He concluded his college career by reaching the final of the 2011 NCAA Singles Championship, this time losing to Johnson in three sets.

Williams played in his first Futures tournament in 2006, and won his first tournament in Pittsburgh in July 2007, aged just 16. His reached 782 in the ATP rankings in November 2007, a position he would not better until August 2010. He entered his first tournament at the ATP Challenger level at the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships in 2008, but competed mainly in Futures tournaments until 2011. During this time, Williams struggled with his weight. He won his second Futures competition in June 2011, at Innisbruck, Florida. The second half of 2011 saw Williams compete more regularly at the Challenger Tour, and in the qualifying for the 2011 US Open. He ended the year ranked 510.

2012 was Williams's breakout year. In March 2012 he was a surprise qualifier for the 2012 Indian Wells Masters, taking a set from world number 86 Frederico Gil in his first ATP World Tour level match. He subsequently made two quarter-finals in Challenger tournaments, entering the top 300 for the first time. His next major success came in qualifying for the 2012 US Open, his first appearance at Grand Slam level. Here, Rhyne lost to former champion and 20th seed Andy Roddick in straight sets. He achieved his best result in a Challenger tournament at the end of the season, reaching the semi-finals at the JSM Challenger, ensuring that he would end the year ranked in the world top 200. His final tournament of 2012 saw him obtain qualification for the 2013 Australian Open.

In 2013, winning the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff, Williams qualified to the main draw of the Australian Open. However, he lost to the 25th seed Florian Mayer 6–2, 6–3, 2–6, 6–7(12–14), 1–6. Next, Williams reached the second round of the Maui Challenger. In the same tournament for doubles, Williams partnered with former college partner Tennys Sandgren, and they reached the finals before losing a third-set super-tie breaker. Williams then played in the Dallas Challenger, and won his first challenger tournament defeating Robby Ginepri in the finals. Williams gained 100 points and had defeated Austin Krajicek, Rajeev Ram, Alex Kuznetsov, and Frank Dancevic on his way to the finals. In the same tournament for doubles, Williams partnered once again with Sandgren, and they reached the finals before once again losing a third-set super-tie breaker. In the U.S. National Indoor Championships, Williams won two qualifying matches to reach the main draw. In the first round, Williams gained his first ATP win over former college rival, Steve Johnson, defeating him 7–6(7–4), 6–4. In the second round, Williams fell to 7th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 4–6, 6–4, 4–6. Williams gained 65 points from this tournament, therefore reaching a career high ranking of 133, as well as attaining a career record of 1–4. Williams made his first career ATP semifinal at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, defeating Pella Guido, Ivo Karolvic, and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo before falling to World No. 12, Nicolas Almagro. He earned entry into the main draw of the 2013 French Open as a "Lucky Loser." Williams entered the tournament ranked a career-high 117th in the ATP. Williams lost in his French Open debut and FQR of 2013 Wimbledon (his first grass season). Williams made his first ATP Doubles Final partnering Tim Smyczek at Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Williams struggled with shoulder injury and didn't fare well in the USO summer hardcourt swing. He received a wildcard into the 2013 US Open and lost in the 1st round to Nikolay Davydenko despite having a double-break lead in the 4th set 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, 5–7, 0–6.

Williams qualified for the 2014 Australian Open. In the main draw, he lost against fifth seed Juan Martín del Potro, winning the first set.
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