During business hours Dr. Michael Banks' forte is providing gentle comfort for his patients.

When his work day concludes, the Jacksonville dentist can often be found wreaking havoc on his opponents on tennis courts throughout Texas.

Banks finished 2011 ranked No. 2 in the state in the United States Tennis Association Texas Section men's 3.0 (singles) division.

He amassed 1680 points last year and trailed only Rene Castillo of San Antonio, who came in first with 2255 points.

Banks steadily progress from being ranked No. 111 in the state at the beginning of l2011 as a result of winning six tournaments — Abilene Zone, Fort Worth Zone, Richardson Open, Georgetown Open, Dallas Open and Dallas Cotton Bowl.

Points for the Texas Section rankings were earned for victories and were based on Banks' performance in his top-five tournaments.

Banks, who finished the year with a 19-7 record, also participated in tournaments in Plano, San Antonio, Austin and Waco.

He advanced into the finals in one of those tournaments, while playing his way into the semi-finals of two more.

“It takes much personal commitment to go on the Texas Section Tournament Tour, but I met and played against a lot of nice people and had a good time in the process,” Banks said. “There are some very good 3.0-level men in the single division.”

As a result of his lofty accomplishment at the 3.0 level last year, Banks has been promoted to the 3.5 player grouping for 2012.

Banks said that the game of tennis is for people of all ages and that he would recommend the sport to young people, since it is a game that one can continue playing at different levels throughout life.

Banks is certainly not ready to rest on his laurels, and although 2012 is just over a week old, he has already launched his preparation for the new season ahead.

“I'm hooked on tennis and I am already working on my 2012 tournament schedule at the next, 3.5 men's single level,” he said.

Sam Hopkins of the Jacksonville Tennis Association also contributed to this story.


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