With a powerful serve, Co-Captain Mac Katkavich ’21 moves his opponents across the court while simultaneously motivating Boys Tennis with positive energy. Leading an undefeated team so far this season, Katkavich has focused on connecting with younger players and hopes to continue to lead the team to more victories.
According to Katkavich, he began playing tennis as a kid in the summer, but his passion for tennis sprouted from his love of geography. He soon began advancing in USTA tournaments and playing competitively in the years leading up to coming to Andover.
“I was always the country club, summer player where I would go to the park or a pool club. I was playing when I was five or six and I really didn’t like it as most kids do, but then I had this weird obsession with geography and I remember watching Wimbeldon one year when I was 8 or 9 and noticing everybody was from different countries. I then thought I wanted to try the sport out. The athleticism was sort of second to wanting to fulfill my obsession with geography. In the process, I ended up really enjoying the sport. I played a lot of tournaments when I was younger throughout the USTA and I got to be a pretty good player through that by being in the top 100 in New England. That culminated with me playing lots of tournaments to improve my rankings and to get into Andover,” said Katkavich.
According to Head Coach Leon Calleja, Katkavich’s best attributes as a captain include his aggressive, controlled playing style along with his contagious enthusiasm.
“Mac has a powerful all around game and is fearless on the court. He also has an incredible positive energy about him such that when he’s on his game, he will overwhelm his opponents. And as a lefty myself, I can say that being left-handed makes his skill set that much more devastating on his opponents. He’s a joy for our fans to watch play,” Calleja wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Katkavich mentioned how his role on the team shifted as he advanced as a player, which allows him to connect with younger players trying to do the same.
“In terms of the arc that I took on the team, I definitely had to work my way up. I started when I was playing doubles for my entire [Junior] season, so I had to work my way up as the years went on. It gives me a good understanding for talking to kids about where they are on the team, if they are feeling upset that they aren’t higher, or if they are trying to work their way up higher. I can definitely empathize with that,” said Katkavich.
According to Co-Captain Aidan Burt ’21, Katkavich demonstrates confidence in his bold play, which has led to his success on the court. Burt noted his strengths that include speed and creativity.
“He’s a very active player. He’s very aggressive, takes a lot of his chances, and he’s not afraid to go after the ball. On court, he’s the one who’s gonna take it to you, he’s gonna make you run, he will make you get on the defense right away. And I think it’s that instinct to always be looking to move forward, he loves finishing points that way. So in that sense, he’s definitely a very crafty player, he knows his way around the court. He’s also very fast, very athletic and can get to a lot of balls too,” said Burt.
Katkavich described how he works to capitalize on his physical strengths along with focusing on his powerful style of play.
“I am a lefty and I am very tall, so my coaches over the years have made an effort to make sure that I utilize both of those things because they are very helpful assets. I would definitely call myself a pretty aggressive baseline player, I try to attack with my serve, and then use my forehand to move around the court. My biggest strength is definitely being able to hit it hard in patterns that are unknown or difficult for my opponent to hit back,” said Katkavich.
Katkavich will be attending Wesleyan University in the Fall of 2021, where he will look to walk on the tennis team there.