by Nancy Rost
1970's South Dakota junior tennis was thriving. Paving the way
for the many South Dakota tennis champions was Patrick M. Rost,
a 2013 South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame inductee.
always seemed to be one step ahead when it came to improving his
game,” said his sister Nancy Rost. "He made a lot of tennis
friends from across the country and he learned what the other
top players in the nation were doing for their training and
conditioning. He brought that home and one thing he taught me
early on was the importance of footwork".
Rost's dedication to the game of tennis led to an estimated 70
singles and doubles championships in the Northwestern section
during the 1970's. It started with the 12 and under boys singles
and doubles championship at the South Dakota Open in 1974. His
South Dakota Open junior career ended in 1980 by winning the
boys 18’s. Throughout that eight-year span Pat collected over
six first place trophies in the SD Open boys’ singles and
several doubles championships. While competing throughout South
Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa, Pat won multiple
championships and maintained a NWTA singles ranking of # 1 or 2
his entire junior career from the 12 and under through the 18’s.
He won an estimated 50 singles titles during his junior career
in the NWTA.
tennis community in Sioux Falls at that time was really
inspiring,” said Pat. “There were many solid players that
really supported the younger kids. We got plenty of court time
and the more experienced players were always willing to hit with
us and gave us a lot of support as we ventured out to the bigger
tournaments in Minneapolis. Coming from Sioux Falls, we never
felt the bigger city players had anything on us. Sioux Falls
tennis was definitely on the map and all the coaches and players
knew about us."
playing for O'Gorman High School Pat won the third flight SD
state singles title as a freshman. His sophomore and senior year
(1978 and 1980) he was the first flight singles champion while
winning doubles with Jim Sorrell in 1980.
accomplishments in the NWTA qualified him for national
competition throughout his junior career. He competed at the
national level in the US, including the prestigious Kalamazoo
tournament, and in such major international competitions as the
Orange Bowl, Easter Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl.
was born in Vermillion, SD in 1962. He started playing tennis in
San Diego, CA at age 6 at the Ray Love tennis academy. The Rost
family moved to Sioux Falls in 1970 when Pat was age 7. They
moved near the McKennan Park tennis courts and it didn't take
long for Pat and his siblings (Mike Jr., Nancy, Steve, Alexandra
and Matthew) to be a part of the tennis community.
Father Mike Rost, MD, had won a state doubles title with John
Simko while at Washington High. Mother Judy was a key volunteer
in the Sioux Falls Tennis Association's effort to partner with
the city to rebuild the McKennan Park Tennis courts in the early
1980’s. "My earliest recollection of playing tennis is tagging
along with my father during his weekly doubles match and hitting
with him for ten minutes after he was done," said Pat.
Rost kids began playing tennis at McKennan Park, with the
winter months taking them inside to Westward Ho and Woodlake
tennis clubs. Pat's tennis game was developed with instruction
from Ron Selkirk, Randy Stolpe, Don Barnes and tennis clinics
that provided the local players with a competitive environment
and agility drills. Pat, as well as sister Nancy, underwent an
intense tennis program developed by Paul Cohen in Los Angeles,
former OG coach Barnes says that Pat remains perhaps the top
junior player to come out of South Dakota. “Having coached and
watched Pat play on a local, high school and national level,
there was always one constant in his game. He had no intention
of losing the match he was about to play. He was supremely
confident and focused. He had that confident swagger.”
Pat's success in the local and national level he was accepted in
1979, his junior year, to the Harry Hopman International Tennis
Academy in Largo, Florida. "This experience was amazing; I had
the opportunity to get personal coaching from Harry Hopman
himself along with many of the top coaches from Australia. Davis
Cup Teams from around the world would come into the tennis
academy to tune up their games before heading out for matches
throughout the world,” said Rost. "All of the training was on
clay which was really challenging at first, but after slipping
and sliding for a month or two I finally got the hang of it and
started to develop my game and move up the ladder at the
Florida tennis experience catapulted Pat into a national junior
ranking where he remained during his junior tennis career. In
1979 Pat was ranked # 16 in the nation as a 16 year old and
maintained a national ranking within the top 50 throughout his
junior tennis career. A highlight included playing in the
national boys 16's in Kalamazoo, MI when Pat beat the number 8
seed, 8-6 in the third set to advance to the quarterfinals.
"That is one match I have mixed feelings about missing,” said
Nancy. “Pat had a lot of grueling matches because he never quit.
He would look so calm and I would be a mess in the sidelines
wanting him to win so badly."
successful junior career led to many options for playing college
tennis. His desire to return to San Diego led him to Division I,
University of San Diego. There he played # 4, 5 and 6 singles,
with impressive wins at Pepperdine, USC and San Diego State. Pat
played many semi-professional and satellite tournaments before
pausing his tennis career to focus on his education.
returned to Sioux Falls and graduated from Augustana College in
1984, receiving a BA in Biological and Chemical Studies. In 1987
he was awarded his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University
of America, Columbus School of Law, in Washington D.C.
Additionally, he completed a program in international law
through the University of Notre Dame London Law Center. He is a
member of the California Bar Association.
returned to San Diego in 1988 where he developed his own
consulting firm, PMR and Associates, LLC. He is also the founder
of the International Stem Cell Network.
returned to competitive tennis in 2005 after a 23 year
sabbatical. His 2012 singles ranking in the San Diego Men's 40
and over division was #2, after a #1 ranking in 2010 and 2011.
In the USTA Men’s 40 and over division, he is ranked # 30 with
a career high at #15 in 2006. "I wasn't even aware that senior
tennis existed. I saw an entry form at a tennis club and thought
that sounds like fun. I entered my first national senior event
and won my first match 7-5 in the third set. The next match I
lost 6-0, 6-1 and I could barely walk that morning, but I was
hooked on playing tennis again."
played in the 50 and over division of the ITF senior tennis
event in February 2012. He won four rounds defeating the number
one ranked players from Sweden and Brazil before losing a close
match to the third-ranked US player.
Currently he hits as a practice partner with many of San
Diego's top juniors and aspiring pro tennis players. "The
current equipment has changed the game. I am not so sure it’s
for the better,” said Pat. “Some shots I can now hit just seem
to defy the laws of physics. The racquets have more power and
the players are capable of hitting so much spin that it’s hard
to judge what you and your opponent are capable of. But tennis
still comes down to the same old scenario; the player that is
most fit and can come up with the shots at the crucial time
usually gets the victory.”
is very active in supporting the Wounded Warrior Foundation,
raising money and organizing an annual deep sea fishing trip for
the Foundation. He is a dedicated father to his 3 boys, Ryan
(18), Andrew (17) and Bradley (15).
said one of his most vivid memories is playing a finals at
McKennan Park. ”Normally my dad would find the time to watch.
One day he wasn't around and I figured he was in surgery at
nearby McKennan Hospital. Somehow he got word my match was on
and soon I caught a glimpse of him, walking toward the courts.
He was in his usual work attire, surgical scrubs and hat
complete with a stethoscope around his neck and the white blood
spattered shoes. I looked over at him as he got closer and said
"Jeez, glad you could make it, the first set is almost over."