Head Coach Feature: Gregory Wilkin
Andover Boys Tennis Head Coach Greg Wilkin has coached at Andover for 36 years. During his time here, Wilkin has helped to lead Andover to two consecutive New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Class-A championships in 2013 and 2014.
Wilkin’s tennis career started when he was 12. During high school, Wilkin served as captain of the high school team. Then, Wilkin proceeded to play tennis at the collegiate level. After a short stint in collegiate tennis, Wilkin transferred to Yale and halted his tennis career for the time being.
Later, Wilkin decided to become a coach. He became certified as a P.T.R. professional and began coaching at Andover. During his time at Andover, Wilkin has influenced many players.
In an interview with The Phillipian, Chase Denholm ’18 said, “I think Coach is very knowledgeable with tennis. He definitely knows what he is doing. He is also very encouraging in all of our matches. He gives us good advice in our doubles matches. He is really a great coach all around.”
Wilkin said, “We look strong especially through the middle. The top four players are likely going to have very strong years. Right now, our top three are what are called U.T.R. (Universal Tennis Rating) 11. According to this universal tennis rating, everybody who plays is going to have a rating, and the top rating is sixteen. Our top three players are 11s, which makes up a strong team.”
Wilkin hopes his team wins every time they step onto the court, prioritizing this objective by managing practice time well.”
“We like to have practice in match situations. We have simulations of match conditions and try to maintain that kind of intensity of focus in our on-court time. Last year, our trip to California involved a lot of conditioning, and we’re gonna make use of that experience with our trainer, Chris Collins,” said Wilkin.
Wilkin’s driven personality and experience in the sport have helped him secure numerous successes over his years of coaching. This year, he will continue to utilize these traits to help the team remain successful and have a shot at capturing a New England Championship this season.
Wilkin said, “New Englands. Winning New Englands is our serious goal.”
Player to Watch: Anupreeth Coramutla ’17
New Upper Anupreeth Coramutla ’17 will be a critical addition to the top of the Andover Boys Tennis ladder this season. Hailing from Monroe, N.J., Coramutla has many years of tennis experience under his belt.
Before coming to Andover, Coramutla played on the varsity team at his previous high school, Princeton Day School. There, he played at the number one seed for singles. In addition, Coramutla played competitively in United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.) tournaments, where he is nationally ranked for his age group.
With raw talent and a strong understanding of the game, Coramutla has fit right in with the team and looks to play a large role in its success this season. He is currently playing at the number three seed for singles matches, and is the number one seed for doubles matches with Captain Chris Kralik ’16 as his partner.
Coramutla is known for his powerful serve, swift agility, and doubles prowess.
“[Coramutla] has a cannon of a serve, allowing him to consistently dictate the pace of points in his service games. Beyond that, the remainder of his strokes are solid across the board, and he rarely gives up free points, yet is also able to turn up the heat when his opponent falters,” said teammate Jonathan Jow ’16.
Chase Denholm ’18 said, “[Coramutla] is an extremely good doubles player because he has great volleys and quick reactions. He has a huge serve and solid groundstrokes, and he is able to dictate points with the placement and power of his shots.”
Head Coach Greg Wilkin was impressed with flashes of talent he has seen so far from the newcomer.
“I could tell immediately from seeing him play the first time that he is one of the best closers to the net that we’ve had on the team in a while. As soon as he sees a ball coming up off a slice, he immediately attacks really fast, closing to the net and cutting off the volley,” he said.
This past weekend, the team ventured out to Newport Beach, Calif., to participate in the National High School Invitational. Facing top players from all over the nation, Coramutla continued to shine and display his aptitude for tennis. He won all of his singles matches, finishing 4-0, while also going 2-2 in doubles matches with Kralik. Along with his strong performance, Coramutla was vocal in motivating his teammates.
“Immediately [Coramutla] was a strong presence on the team. He had a determination that motivated the rest of us to do well… He was constantly supporting each member of our team while maintaining focus on his own match,” said Denholm.
Coach Wilkin said, “He’s going to make a huge difference for us this season.”
Captain Feature: Chris Kralik ’16
Since his Junior year, Captain Chris Kralik ’16 has been the difference-maker on and off the court, heavily contributing to Andover Boys Tennis’s rise as one of the premier boys tennis programs in New England. He has lead Andover to back-to-back New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) titles in 2013 and 2014 and is now stepping into a leading role as captain.
Kralik’s passion for tennis began at a young age in his hometown of Shanghai. His father encouraged him to tryout for various sports teams, and he eventually fell in love with tennis and decided to only focus on what he was most passionate about. As his skills got better, he entered into competitive tournaments. By the time Kralik came to Andover, he was physically and mentally ready to make an impact at the varsity level, and he has since proved himself to be one of the most talented players in the league. This year, Kralik will lead his team as first seed for Andover.
To constantly push his teammates, Kralik makes an effort to lead by example. His talent and focus guide the team to work hard throughout every match. Kralik’s teammates describe him as a person who is constantly composed and zoned in on the task at hand.
In an email to The Phillipian, Tyler Shen ’17 wrote, “Chris leads by example on the court, inspiring us with his effortless playing style and unwavering confidence. He always leads the team by example as our first seed, and never shows signs of nerves on the court. This past weekend, he played some of the best players in the country but his confidence never fell.”
Teammate Chase Denholm ’18 said, “Chris has a certain demeanor on the court that is really rare in high school tennis. He is so calm no matter if he is losing or winning, and it is extremely encouraging. Whether the team is winning or losing, he constantly encourages us to work hard and improve everyday. His pre-match pep talks never disappoint, and he motivates us to want to win as well as have fun. He is one of the most talented players I have seen, and constantly practices to improve everyday as well.”
Although Kralik’s talent and work ethic allow his leadership skills to shine during training and matches, he strongly believes in being a leader off the court as well. Kralik tries to foster an inclusive environment for the underclassmen, and to promote bonding the team holds weekly team dinners as well as making practices fun.
Kralik said, “Sportsmanship is a huge deal so I like to enforce that, but otherwise, I want to enjoy myself, and for my other teammates this is more than just some game. Although, we do make our practices fun because every practice we play music and fool around. Practice is pretty relaxed which contributes to our strong team dynamic.”
In addition, Andover went to a preseason tournament in California, which helped both Kralik and the underclassmen become acclimated with the team and prepare for the season ahead. After this year’s trip, Kralik has high hopes for the team.
Kralik said, “I can confidently say we have a strong shot at winning New Englands this year. Last year was more of a rebuilding year. We didn’t do that great and never even made it to the playoffs. We took a year off, but we will definitely come back strong and become the team to beat if we can be consistent with our effort and technique.”
Kralik wishes to walk onto the team at the collegiate level next year, but if that doesn’t work out, this spring will be his last season playing tennis competitively. Due to the possibility of parting ways with the sport, he wants to make this season as memorable and enjoyable as possible. His goal for the team is to take the Nepsac trophy back to Andover.
Kralik said, “Winning New Englands freshman and sophomore year was the highlight of my career and I would love to end on a bang this year. It’s a great experience being part of such a talented, great group of guys.”
Andover Boys Tennis is off to a promising start with a 3-2 preseason win over Andover High School, and Kralik looks to continue dominating the court during his upcoming match against BB&N.