High & Inside: Central soph a winner

DreShaun Jarmon (second from right) shares a moment with (from left) Roger Federer, Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday in New York.

CENTRAL HIGH tennis player DreShaun Jarmon is aiming for the stars.

And beating them, too.

Someday, the 15-year-old sophomore from South Philly hopes to become a pediatrician.

But on Saturday, he competed against some of the tennis world's most noteworthy players.

Jarmon defeated Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Esther Vergeer - the 2009 wheelchair singles champion at the U.S. Open, French Open and Australian Open - in a target-hitting contest on center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Jarmon, who will play No. 1 singles at Central this season, said he wasn't nervous even though there were some 25,000 screaming fans present.

"It helped a lot that [before the competition] there was a room where all the pros were sitting and I got to sit with them and talk," Jarmon said yesterday. "I got all their signatures and they told me to just enjoy myself and have a lot of fun."

Jarmon did both, and was awarded $15,000 for the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center in Philadelphia in the process.

"They [the pros] were pretty surprised," said Jarmon, who started playing when he was 5. "I guess they weren't expecting it."

Neither was Jarmon.

"Afterward, when I was walking through the crowd, people kept asking for my autograph," he said. "At first, I didn't know they were talking to me."

- Tom Mahon

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