Boys tennis teams focus on quality not seniority

Jonathan K. hits a powerful forehand. (Photo courtesy of Jim Inverso)
Jonathan K. hits a powerful forehand. (Photo courtesy of Jim Inverso)
By Janine Karo
Section Editor

The boys varsity tennis team finished the season strong with two wins, bringing their re¬cord to 7-4 overall, and a second place finish in the MAPL tournament.

“ At MAPLs, it was really cool to see the top three singles—Jonathan Ku [’14], Justin Suh [’14] and I—all get to the finals,” Alex Song ’14 said. Head coach Brian Dubrule also noted Ku’s play at the No. 1 singles position as a “bright spot” this season.

Song, a varsity player for the past two years, attributes his success to the team dynamic.

“We’re a lot closer as a team and as a re¬sult we’ve been able to pull in really nice wins. Even though tennis is all 1v1, team chemistry really improved our performance as individuals,” Song said.

The team bonds partially result from the amount of time spent in the classroom together.

“Most of them are in the same classes as each other, so the team is pretty close,” Dubrule said. “Removing just one of the guys would change the whole team. Everyone plays a role, whether it [is] winning matches, being a solid practice player or being comic relief on long bus rides.”

The team is composed of 10 upperclass¬men and one freshman, a somewhat striking contrast between grades.

“In tennis we don’t really care what grade you’re in: if you beat kids, you play,” Dubrule said.

JV coach Lindi Davis also believes in qual¬ity over seniority.

“The level of play needed to be selected on varsity is that of a year around player, not an individual looking to play for a season,” Davis said.

While Song initially disliked the selectivity for the varsity team, it ultimately helped him for the better.

“Freshman year I was really disappointed to get cut from varsity, but in the end it worked out. I learned a lot from becoming captain of JV and still got a lot of playing time with var¬sity,” Song said.

The JV tennis team, coached by Davis, is geared towards developing techniques used at the varsity level.

“Junior Varsity is a program geared to im¬prove tennis skills in younger or less experienced players. With the exception of a few players at the top of our ladder, a seasonal player best de¬scribes our majority,” Davis said.

Similar to varsity, the JV team dynamic has been a positive asset to the players’ perfor¬mances.

“I was gradually able to improve with not only the constant encouragement and direction of our coaches, but also the help of the more experienced players—many who had played on JV before. It didn’t matter what your skill level was, everyone on the team is always there for each other,” George Yang ’16 said.

This close relationship amongst the team¬mates is the result of the types of games they play.

“Because we usually play doubles, we are very dependent on each other; you must be very coordinated with your partner or you can almost be guaranteed a loss. This is also one of the ma¬jor reasons why we learned to work out our dif¬ferences and trust each other,” Yang said.