Highland’s varsity boys tennis continued their season with their fifth game of the year against Independence on March 8th. Unfortunately, this game continued the trend set by the rest of the season with Highland winning 1 out of their 6 singles matches and 2 of 3 doubles matches. Despite this, in watching the team play and during our interviews with them it was clear that they enjoy being on the courts and have fun playing with each other.
The weather was slightly chilly when Highland’s varsity tennis team took to the courts around 3:30 in the afternoon. The cool wind must’ve been refreshing to the players who were just beginning their singles matches. A few spectators were outside the courts with us alongside Coach Leaply who was watching his players’ games closely.
Jack and Shay’s doubles match.
Probably the most exciting match of the afternoon was the doubles match played by Shay E. and Jack H. In the beginning of the match the two seniors struggled to counter Independence’s offense and score their own points which led to them being down 7-4 with Independence only requiring one more point to win the game. Shay later explained that up until this point he and Jack hadn’t been successful at getting back on the offensive but, after getting to play against their opponents for a while, they got a sense of what they could do to counter Independence’s offense. Once Jack and Shay made a few adjustments to their strategy, they began an exciting comeback where they won the next 5 consecutive games to win the match 9-7.
After all the matches were finished we interviewed 3 of the varsity team members. The first interview was with Jack H. who was feeling great after winning both his singles and doubles matches. He seemed especially hyped about his comeback doubles match win as he explained how he may now prefer doubles matches over singles. Jack was then asked about his goals for the rest of his season to which he explained, “The goals are probably just to get better, you know? Have a better serve, a better forehand, better strikes, better everything.” Overall, for the rest of the season Jack hopes that he can continue having fun playing tennis, and of course, keep winning his matches.
Our second interview was with Freddie O. whose goals for this season are mainly to improve as a player. Freddie explained how he had an injury last year that ended his season halfway through so he wants to improve so he can reach the level he was playing at last year. Freddie also jokingly added that he’s definitely learned to never run backwards. Freddie mentioned that he feels as if he’s finally back at the point he was at last year but expresses how he still wants to improve his consistency and mentality on the court. Freddie also shared his goal of becoming the number 1 ranked player on varsity next year after being ranked 2nd on the varsity team for his freshman and sophomore year. To end off the interview Freddie spoke about his favorite part of tennis, “I like the athleticism and the mental pressure it has on you because most of the time you’re going to be the only player out there and your only enemy is yourself.”
The final interview that day was with Anthony R., the number 1 ranked varsity player for Highland. A major topic in Anthony’s interview was how March 8th’s game against Independence was the first game he’s played this season and his first time playing with the team in over a month. Despite this and his losses in both his singles and doubles match, Anthony expressed how he was feeling good to be back playing on the courts. In regards to the rest of the season Anthony said, “I hope it’s not like the first half. I hope that I can keep playing and just get better and get back in season shape.”
Freddie and Anthony playing in their doubles match.
Throughout the entire tennis team, it’s clear that they love playing the game and are motivated to improve their performance. The team has a great vibe with them being supportive of each other and sharing advice and tips with their teammates to help them win their matches. For the rest of the season, we hope that every player is able to reach their goals and continue to have fun playing tennis.