Boys Tennis Sports Spring Sports

Boys Tennis Co-Captain Nash Johnson ’20 Looks to Older Brother For Inspiration

Co-Captain Nash Johnson ’20 has been playing tennis since he was six years old.

Beginning his tennis career at six years old, Andover Boys Tennis Co-Captain Nash Johnson ’20 found his love for tennis through his older brother and inspiration, Howard Johnson ’17.

Johnson said, “I started playing tennis at around age six. I played casually for a long time. My brother Howard played a bunch and he really enjoyed it and it really inspired me to play, as well. As I started to grow older, I began playing competitively in tournaments within the USTA.”

Johnson cites his first coach for pushing him to strive for greater accomplishments and to become the player he is today.

Johnson said, “Outside of my family, my first coach, Gilad Bloom, really inspired me. He introduced me to the sport, as I had lessons with him from age six to ten and I played in his clinics every week. He was a good and hard coach because he would push me—I wouldn’t love him all the time, but that was necessary in a coach… Looking back, I am thankful for that.”

Johnson plays first doubles with Hayden Gura ’20 and third singles. According to teammate Aidan Burt ’21, Johnson is not only a strong supportive presence for his teammates, but a highly skilled and resilient player.

“Nash does a good job during matches by being a real team leader and cheering each and every one of us on. As a player, he is very crafty and knows how to get into his opponent’s head and that shows as a Captain,” Burt said.

For Johnson, his love of tennis is rooted in the multidimensionality of the game.

Johnson said, “I really love tennis because there are so many fascinating aspects that you can master. Whether it is the physical game or mental game, you can train your body to become stronger. You can improve your forehand, or on the mental side of things, you can train your mind to stay strong and test your emotions. There are people who will try to cheat you or frustrate you, but you just have to keep your emotions in check, which is a great life skill to learn from tennis.”

While he has enjoyed the sport since he was young, Johnson’s passion for tennis has grown since arriving at Andover, where he has experienced the aspects of playing on a team.

Johnson said, “Normally, when I would go to tournaments or play in practice, the only support you really have are your friends, who are not obligated to watch you, and of course your parents, who will cheer you on no matter what. Being on a team, you are constantly getting support from your teammates at all times. Whether they are playing matches or on the sidelines, everyone is calling out to cheer each other on. You get a constant feeling of support from the whole team that you wouldn’t usually get from an individual tournament event.”

Above all, Johnson inspires his teammates through his strong work ethic and commitment to fostering an welcoming team environment, according to Gura and Burt.

“Overall, it is about effort. If you see the captain putting in effort the rest of the team follows. Nash always does this for the team. He also always gives great pre-game speeches and gives each of us some input to succeed,” said Gura.

“Given that there are so few players on a tennis team, we already have a strong type of community. This year, Nash has done a great job introducing new players to the team and meshing these players into system to get how we work as a family and team,” Burt added.

Johnson hopes that the team will continue its success in the 2020 season, with new and returning players alike, stepping up to foster a positive and inclusive team.

Johnson said, “Next year will be my final year, and as a Senior, I would love to return to the Nepsac and return with the championships. Realistically, if that is not possible, I want to continue building a community that, even when I’m gone, will continue to thrive, and people will enjoy playing on the team. I want to the team to be a place where people will enjoy coming to practice and people will want to play for us.”

Editor’s Note: Nash Johnson is a Copy Editor for The Phillipian.