At the age of seven, Andover Boys Tennis Co-Captain Alex Zhu ’23 picked up a tennis racket for the first time. After playing individually for most of his tennis career, Zhu found a new dimension of his passion in a team setting at Andover. As Co-Captain, he is ready to lead younger players and steps into responsibility with positivity, according to Zhu.
“When I was a player, there’s always someone to look up to, I always looked up to the Captains. When I started as Captain, I realized that I needed to be that person for younger people, so it became a bigger responsibility for me. I had to watch my behavior and set a good tone for practice and keep positive mindsets and things like that,” said Zhu.
Kian Burt ’24 described the energy Zhu brings to the team. He noted how motivational his team’s cheers and inspirational speeches are.
“Besides being very energetic, he gets us in team huddles before we start our matches, he gives us very inspiring speeches… I’ve seen him get better at giving the inspirational speeches and leading the chant before we start. I think that’s something I’ll remember, having the speech and then doing the chant, it’s a team bonding experience,” said Burt.
This is the second season that Zhu has led alongside Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23. Though both share similar leadership qualities, Zhu is often the one keeping the spirits lighthearted, according to Kevin Niu ’25.
“Both [Alex and Ethan] are really close friends, so obviously there’s no awkwardness, there’s no competitiveness, we’re all encouraging of each other. Alex specifically, I love him a lot because he’s really short and funny. He brings up the spirit. He also sets a really good [example] because he has a lot of rizz. He’s also really good at tennis. Everytime he laughs, everyone just starts laughing, this is genuinely true. He brings up the spirit by cracking a joke at the right time when we’re all feeling down, really bringing up the spirit,” said Niu.
Wong shared how Zhu’s humor lights up practices and games. Not only does he bring the energy, but he also has the skill to match that, which he shares with his teammates through helpful feedback.
“Alex is super nice. He always brings great energy to the court. He’s always smiling, makes a lot of nice jokes and lightens up the mood… He’s always a presence on the court and he’s very vocal about helping teammates, and about cheering people on when needed. He’s a great player. He has a great plate baseline game, and really hits deep shots and angles when he needs it,” said Wong.
In such an individual sport, Zhu fosters a healthy team dynamic by making sure everyone remembers the team is playing for each other, not against each other. Zhu hopes that his leadership will live on, even after he graduates.
“Tennis is an individual sport a lot of the time, so at the end of the day it’s two people on the court playing a match or sometimes it’s four people if it’s doubles, so it can sometimes get competitive between teams and also within our team. Just making sure at the end of the day that we’re a team and we’re not competing against each other, but we’re cheering each other on and making sure we have support for each other and not trying to beat each other,” said Zhu.
Editor’s Note: Kevin Niu ’25 is a Digital Editor for The Phillipian.
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