Boys Varsity Tennis started the season playing against BB&N with an undefeated match record to gain their first win. This was Andover’s first sweep of the season; its season record now stands at 1-0.
Head Coach Leon Calleja, Chair of the English Department and Instructor in English, felt that the team kept a positive attitude throughout the duration of their matches. Their focus for the future of the season, he added, is keeping that positivity up and playing when the team is struggling.
“I thought they stayed positive all the way through the match. I think one of the biggest challenges for them, for any tennis player, is really getting down on yourself and I think something we will continue to work on as the season progresses is keeping your head up and playing through it. You know, they kept leads even when they weren’t playing their best, they kept their eyes on the prize,” said Coach Calleja.
Co-Captain Kian Burt ’24 agreed with Calleja, mentioning the positive mindset that the team kept throughout their matches. Burt noted his appreciation for the team, who he explained has already been helpful early in the season.
“I think the team did really well before practice getting motivated, doing team warmups, and getting hyped. We were able to keep that…as we went into the doubles matches and have that continued mindset. I also enjoyed how at the end of the point, you would hear people cheer for you. Some people on the sidelines or sometimes on the court next to you, they would have applause. It’s very nice to be able to play that team tennis,” said Burt.
Though Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23 spent most of his time on the court, he was able to watch a few points from his teammates. Those highlighted included Co-Captain Alex Zhu ’23 and Eddie Wang ’24, whom he complimented for their aggressive gameplay.
“I think we weren’t able to watch a lot of matches because we were always on the court but out of a couple of points, I watched I thought that [Zhu], who is our other co-captain, played pretty well and also [Wang], who is a Lower, because they fought on the court and they didn’t let the points go. They were just competing well,” said Wong.
As he sets out goals for the season, Coach Calleja is focusing on getting the opposition to make mistakes as opposed to being perfect. He added that, in tennis, mindset is critical to playing a good match.
“Just getting them to play every point and play the whole court and play to force errors from your opponent, not just necessarily hit outright winners and really staying loose with their whole game I think is…really critical. When the players play at such a high level, a lot of it is mental, so keeping them in the right headspace is important,” said Coach Calleja.
Wong added the challenge of their season being postponed by Covid-19 last year. He explained how the team must readjust to match play this season, but also highlighted the positive community that has formed among the team.
Wong said, “It’s hard to get back into playing matches, and being confident in those matches and hitting the shots that need to be hit to be aggressive, because we haven’t played matches for so long, so I think playing matches and getting comfortable in competitive situations will be good for our team. I also feel like our team this year is super supportive of each other. I feel like we have a really tight community, having a supportive atmosphere where everyone feels like they belong on the team and support each other to get better.”
Boys Tennis will welcome Brunswick at home on Friday.
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