Senior Cory Parr of Jericho, N.Y. was a top-ranked junior player who grew up in Jericho, N.Y. and went on to an All-American collegiate career for the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University. He was the third-highest winning men’s singles player in Wake Forest history. Cory earned the program's first-ever national title with the doubles championship win at the ITA's National Indoors competition in Charlottesville, Va. Parr and partner Steven Forman defeated Southern California's Robert Farah and Steven Johnson by a margin of 7-6 (3), 7-6(5) to take the title.
“Cory is like a member of my family,” said Lawrence Kleger of Sportime, Cory’s co-coach through juniors. “My wife Slavie, at any given time, is either trying to adopt him or convince our daughter to marry him! Cory is an amazing success story. And his on-court accomplishments pale when compared to his off-court character and integrity. He has been and continues to be the role model for all Sportime student athletes.”
In high school, while playing for the Jayhawks of Jericho High School, he was the 2004 New York State Singles Champion, 2004 Nassau County Singles Champion, 2003 New York State Doubles Champion and the 2002 Nassau County Doubles Champion.
“Lawrence Kleger and I have always tried to challenge Cory physically and mentally as much as possible throughout his junior career,” said Mike Kossoff, Cory’s co-coach throughout juniors. “We made him play Sectionals so he could finish each year ranked number one in the east, as well as play high school tennis to defend state titles. Lawrence and I felt that by putting him in situations where he was expected to win, along with the pressure of being the favorite to win, helped his mental toughness and improved his own self-image.”
Kleger added, “At the age of 12, Cory missed a full-year of development and competitive play when he came down with Tourette’s syndrome. But like everything else other people said he couldn’t do, Cory overcame the affliction and began a successful tennis career that included USTA National Titles, NCAA Championships and numerous sportsmanship awards. And just when people thought his competitive career was over, Cory begins his professional career with five doubles titles on the satellite tour.”
Long Island Tennis Magazine recently had a chance to sit down with Cory to discuss his tennis career path to date and if he had any advice to offer to current junior players on Long Island.
How did you get started and at what age?
I got started in the sport of tennis when I was about five-years-old. My mother used to be the tournament director of the ATP event on Long Island called The Hamlet Cup. Every summer, I would watch great players play, and I wanted to be just like them. Some of those players included Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Dominik Hrbaty, Michael Chang, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a top-ranked junior player and living on Long Island?
Some of the advantages are the great people that I have come in contact with. It is a pretty small tennis community, with a lot of great people who want to see you succeed. Some of the disadvantages are getting good practices during the wintertime. I have always grown up playing indoors, and I do not mind it every so often; however, while playing on tour, it is really important to be in a competitive atmosphere where I am able to train with other pros who push each other. That is why much of my training is spent in Arizona and North Carolina where there is better weather.
Who and what helped you raise your game to the elite level it has risen to?
When I was in juniors, I trained at Sportime in Syosset and Bethpage. The two coaches that have helped me develop my game at the junior level were Lawrence Kleger and Mike Kossoff. I started with Lawrence from the very beginning. He was a great mentor for me, as well as someone who helped develop my strokes so that I would have no technical flaws. He also helped me develop weapons to take me to a high level. I began working with Mike when I was 13-years-old. Mike was very important to me who stressed hard work and discipline. He was the one who really made me believe that I could be a good player. Both Mike and Lawrence were huge contributors to what I have done in tennis.
What advice would you give to the junior players on Long Island who want to play at a high college level and/or professionally?
I would tell them to work really hard and set goals for them to accomplish. I’d tell them to work with their coaches and to keep developing their games, while also playing in a lot of matches.
What is your fondest tennis memory thus far?
I have had so many great tennis memories, but I would have to say getting to the Sweet 16 two out of four years at Wake Forest is the tops to date. Also, winning a national championship at the ITA National Indoors in doubles with my partner Steven Forman was a great accomplishment.
What are your goals in the future?
My future goals for tennis include being able to make a living playing professionally in both singles and doubles play. It is a tough road, and it is something that I am still getting acclimated to, but I am and will continue to work hard to try and accomplish my goals.