Leading the team to an impressive season, Co-captain Ethan Wong ’23 encapsulates a great leader who goes above and beyond to inspire his teammates. After a much awaited return after Covid, Boys Tennis began its seasonal momentum through the captains’ continuous efforts to build team chemistry and win matches.
Co-captain Kian Burt ’24 recognizes Wong’s presence for each player, a characteristic that has influenced how the young team learns and communicates with the captains as a whole. The ability to connect with team members has allowed bonds to shift into place faster between each member, creating a thoughtful environment to learn and compete, according to Burt.
“I think at the beginning of the season, we were all just trying to figure out, what’s it going to be like, our first full season since Covid. I think at least now we’ll sort of have a rhythm through practice and our matches on Wednesday, Friday or the weekend. I think Ethan especially has been able to lead the team by example through just being there at practice, being there cheering on teammates, [and] always trying his best,” said Burt.
The foundation of the team are the individual players, who, over time, learn to embody each other’s talents and work together to win matches. Similarly, Wong emphasizes the importance of rooting for teammates to show that you have their back regardless of the outcome. This uplifts each member to play not for themselves, but for the team.
“I feel like we bond quite well, as a team. As, obviously, we get to [be with each other] five to six days a week, if you count in the games. We spent a lot of time with each other. And obviously we cheer each other on during matches. And I think that experience has created a really tight bond as [every] individual victory lifts [and changes] the fate of the team, the fate of us, our victory. And so in that way, each individual embodies the team. So I feel like that really allows our team to get a good understanding of each other, and support each other and create a very tight bond,” said Wong.
Burt shares similar sentiments to Wong, recognizing that acts of encouragement bring people together, as everyone can rely on each other, even when they are competing against one another during practice. To Burt, it has been a tremendous experience seeing everyone get closer over the course of the season.
Burt said, “I think, at least now during practice, we’re always playing tennis together. We’re always cheering each other on. During practice, like tie breaks, for example, after we finish [you might] look across and cheer on another teammate who is a great shot. I think at least this season. It’s been nice to see this team come together.”
Additionally, regarding captain collaboration, Burt recognized how Wong and Co-captain Alex Zhu ’23 handle difficult matches together. Thus far, Boys Tennis has lost only two out of nine tournaments, an impressive record. Though Burt focuses directly on the aftermath of tougher competition where all three captains share a common perception of self-reflection and not holding the loss too close to the heart.
Burt said, “I think Ethan and Alex are very experienced tennis players. They played lots of tournaments… They know the feeling of losing a match that you definitely could have won. I think with that experience, they have this understanding. At least for after a tough match, you just have to focus and regroup and [reflect on] what you could do better and channeling into your experiences.”
With seven more tournaments remaining, Wong emphasized the goals for this season. He hopes that the team can play and win the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac). Beyond this season, since every player will be returning, Wong hopes that each individual can channel their talents for exciting years ahead.
“Since this season, I really hope that we can win Nepsac. Obviously, we have a really strong team. And although we’ve had two losses, so far, those losses were all really close. And one of the losses, we actually didn’t have our full roster against any of the other two schools that we lost against. So I hope if we can have a full roster and play at the Nepsac, and everyone performs rather well, then I really hope we can win Nepsac. And for next year, another upside to not having Senior members in our team is that nobody is leaving. So from here, the team only gets better,” said Wong.