Sports

Co-Captain Ananya Madduri ’23 Brings Experience and Work Ethic to Girls Tennis

COURTESY OF PHILLIPS ACADEMY

Initially interested in skiing and gymnastics, Andover Girls Tennis Co-Captain Ananya Madduri ’23 suffered a knee injury at eight years old that forced her to make the switch to tennis. Largely under her father’s guidance, she soon came to love the competitive aspect of the sport and now enjoys using the sport to empower herself. 

According to Madduri, her success as a player and love for tennis stemmed primarily from her family’s devotion to watching and playing high-level tennis. Once a collegiate and pro tennis player, Madduri’s father served as her tennis mentor.

“My dad was obviously a big help through that because he was super experienced. He also played on the pro tour for six months after graduating from college, so he was my initial coach… My family’s like a big tennis family in general. We’ll travel to play different tournaments and also watch big tournaments. Recently we went and we watched Indian Wells, which was really good, so that’s what keeps me going. Also I just love the competitive aspect of it. I think it’s a sport that combines a lot of different elements of the competition and also rivalry, which is very enjoyable,” said Madduri.

Madduri describes her leadership style as captain to be one that is more focused on setting the example. Madduri is hopeful that her experience and dedication to playing can inspire her teammates.

“I’m not a very giggly, laughy person as a captain. I think I lead by the way I play in practice and the effort that I put in. I do practice very seriously, although it’s nothing to get too stressed about. I take it as a way to constantly keep improving. Each hour I get with my coaches is very important to me because that’s that one hour that I can tweak something to make my game stronger and also to help others,” said Madduri.

Fellow Co-Captain Nicole Lee ’22 shares a similar sentiment to Madduri. Although the two captains have known each other since middle school in Hong Kong, Lee appreciates Madduri’s impact on both the new and returning members of the team.

“We attended the same school back in Hong Kong, so I knew her from around there, from tennis centers and training and tournaments as well. It’s been great to see her grow, both as a person and player… I think she’s allowed me to also step up my game both on and off the court,” said Lee. 

Though noting major difficulties in fostering an inclusive team community due to Covid-19 circumstances, Madduri further stated that leading the team through it wouldn’t be possible without the help of Lee and her coaches. 

“I feel like with me and [co-captain Nicole Lee ’22], we have nine people on the team, we usually have eight, so obviously our team really reconstructed this year given Covid-19 and seniors leaving last year. So we’re really just trying to be able to foster that inclusive community where everyone feels empowered, and they feel like they can be the best versions of themselves as an athlete, tennis player, and generally as a person,” said Madduri. 

As a new member of this year’s team, Tara Phan ’24 recognizes Madduri’s efforts in playing with newer, younger members.

“Ananya is a caring and supportive captain as well as teammate, and she is excited to always play with us. And she’s happy to join us on the court and warm up with me if I ask, and she’s always willing to play with us,” said Phan.

Without a Junior season due to Covid-19, the Spring Term of last year marked the beginning of Madduri’s Andover tennis journey. For her, last year’s match against Deerfield was not just one of the most memorable, but also introduced her to her place on the team.

“I really enjoyed playing Deerfield last year because I don’t know, I just remember it very distinctly… It just felt very empowering, a very memorable match. I played pretty well, and last season obviously got pretty good results as a team and individually. I think it was just a very memorable moment in my life that I’ll never forget, so that kind of marked the beginning of my time at Andover on the tennis team,” said Madduri.