Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23, the top seeded player for Andover Boys Tennis, inspires his teammates through leading by example and adaptability. Initially playing tennis just to spend time with his father, Wong turned his hobby into an 11 year passion. Over the years, Wong has recognized the value of a team within a more traditionally individualized sport.
“I think as a kid, it was a way for me to connect with my dad, because my dad played a lot of tennis. But then I really enjoyed the sport just growing up as I played with friends. We went to training camps together. It was like a really nice time to bond with people and I formed social connections… And then as I grew a bit older, I just fell in love with competing, and the sensation of striking the ball,” said Wong.
Co-Captain Alex Zhu ’23 has led alongside Wong for the past two seasons. Zhu expressed his appreciation for Wong’s tenacious attitude and progressive talent on the tennis courts.
Zhu said, “I think Ethan brings a lot of energy to practices and he’s just a great leader and leads by example. He always works hard and he always has a positive attitude, and both of us work off each other. Ethan’s [a] more serious tennis player than me so he’s a great role model to have.”
Kevin Niu ’25 recalled his first interaction with Wong, where he was met with optimism. Niu appreciated Wong’s willingness to guide him through the tryout process, as well as devoting time to practice with him.
“When I first met Ethan, he was very welcoming of course. I did [recreational] tennis, I wasn’t on the team [and] I was stressed about tryouts. He comforted me, he gave me advice, he told me about the format. He even hit with me, all these nice gestures,” said Niu.
Despite Wong’s anticipation for his first season during Junior Year, he was unable to play due to Covid-19. Wong played his first match for Andover last season as the program recovered from the pandemic.
“I looked forward to [tennis] ever since coming into the school. And it got delayed for two years… I’d been waiting for so long. I really enjoyed hanging out with the team. And I love the people on the team, getting to travel with them, getting to play tennis with them. And it’s interesting how tennis became a team sport, at any rate, instead of more like an individual sport,” said Wong.
Niu mentioned Wong’s unique approach to leading a young team. He focuses on vitalizing everyone and supporting them during matches, but also acting as an example to follow.
“In tennis, he is really focused, he is locked in, he sets a good example. He never slacks off, he’s never lazy. He is always the one trying the hardest on the team, always the one screaming, encouraging everyone. He has a good heart and he is crazy good at tennis and really brings the good spirit. When you see him win a point, you feel better. You get that psyched feeling and you do better [on] your next point,” said Niu.
Whether it’s returning from an injury or coming back from a loss, Wong always prevails over challenges, according to Zhu. His determined mindset serves as inspiration to his teammates, and it encourages them to make it through challenges.
“Ethan’s not a quitter. Even yesterday, his left arm was hurting and he just didn’t give up. I literally saw him say, ‘Coach, I can play through this arm and I don’t have to hit a backhand. I can just slice the ball.’ That’s just something that’s super inspiring. Ethan won’t quit no matter what. He’s always persevering. He’s always finding a way to do well in matches,” said Zhu.
Wong hopes to consistently demonstrate his skills at the highest level and provide feedback to his teammates.
Wong said, “I always try to lead by example. So I’m trying to move my feet, [being] active on the court, and fight for every point so that other players can see that I’m trying my best to win matches… And [if] we lose, just talking with each other as a team, and accepting it, and using it as fuel for the next.”
Editor’s Note: Kevin Niu ’25 is a Digital Editor for The Phillipian
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