This summer, it was tough for William Robertson to concentrate on football.
He spent his time alternating between basketball workouts and football workouts, then dropped both to participate in the Alabama All-Stars Sports Week as a tennis player.
“Most days consisted of football in the morning, trying to get to basketball if I could – I didn’t always make basketball – then practicing tennis for the all-stars,” said the Montgomery Academy senior. “Once all-stars settled down, by that time basketball was already over so I had a lot more time to focus on football.”
It’s tough to choose when each sport pulls you in a different direction. His sister Leighton plays basketball so there might be a little family time there. He figures there might be a collegiate future in football waiting for him if he concentrates on the sport and shows development and improvement. But to be selected for the first-ever tennis team in All-Stars Sports Week history had to take some priority in his life, at least in early July.
Robertson has reached the state tournament tennis finals in each of the last four seasons, winning as an eighth grader at No. 6 singles in 2016, reaching the Class 1A-3A finals in 2017 and 2018 and reaching the 4A-5A finals in 2019. In 2017, he teamed with James Torbert to win the 1A-3A No. 1 doubles championship, reached the finals in 2018 and reached the semifinals in 4A-5A doubles this past May.
He practiced with Torbert in early July to get ready for All-Stars Sports Week.
“You play six singles matches and three doubles matches (as a team in the event),” Robertson said. “You’re supposed to have 12 people. We only had 10 people on our team because two of our guys had qualified for a national tournament, so we lost two of our best guys.”
He participated in singles, losing to the North’s Ryan Stafford of Spain Park.
The tennis preparation interrupted some of his basketball workouts and between the three sports, he had little time to spend with his sisters at the house.
“Elizabeth worked all summer so I didn’t get to see her a lot,” he said. “Mead, who is going to UVA, had the most vacation out of all of us and then Leighton was doing a lot of basketball so we ran into each other. As I was leaving the gym, she might be coming in or vice versa.”
When he was able to work on offseason drills in football, Robertson concentrated on offense.
“I went into the offseason focusing a lot more on offense because, for me, if I was to play next year (in college) I think that’s where I would play,” he said. “A lot of what I was doing was speed work and footwork drills, so it was really helping me on both sides of the ball.
“My biggest thing is speed, trying to get a little bit faster, a little bit stronger. (I concentrated on) a lot of quick explosive drills, starting on a knee -- a lot of workouts designed to strengthen the fast-twitch muscles to help with the quick sprints.”
Montgomery Academy coach Gary Nelson said he is blessed with leadership from his 15 seniors, but Robertson stands out from the rest.
“William is a guy who has started since he was a freshman, so there’s probably nobody in Alabama that’s got as much game experience as he does,” Nelson said. “So we lean on him a lot to do a lot of different things for us. He’s our H-back/slot/receiver and was our second leading receiver last year while also being our third leading tackler at ‘will’ linebacker. He’ll move over to ‘sam’ this year to fill the void left by (graduated starter) Brian Wilson.”
Wilson is the only starting not returning this season, giving the Eagles plenty of optimism on that side of the ball.
“I think we have a lot of potential on defense,” Robertson said. “We’re returning three of our top tacklers on defense and that’s going to be huge for us. Toward the end of the year, our defense really clicked.”