After nine hours of competition, the varsity district squad stands together with their rackets. Varsity coach Anthony Kirk, far right, and Junior Varsity coach Alex Brown, far left, accompanied the team during their matches throughout the day.
After nine hours of competition, the varsity district squad stands together with their rackets. Varsity coach Anthony Kirk, far right, and Junior Varsity coach Alex Brown, far left, accompanied the team during their matches throughout the day.
Keith Luo

Dominating Districts

Varsity tennis team advances to regionals

On April 22 and 23, the varsity tennis team participated in Districts at Homer Ford Tennis Center. The team participated and took home victories of first and second place in girls’ doubles, second in boys’ doubles and third in mixed doubles.

Junior Saachi Gupta returns a deep, high ball with a striking forehand. Gupta played alongside junior Mia Zilberman and won the girls doubles draw of the tournament, claiming the title of girls double district champions.
Saachi Gupta

“I played with [junior] Mia Zilberman. We played two matches on the first day and then the final on the second day. We played Lamar High, Heights High, Lamar again and then our own team for the finals.

I hadn’t been playing as frequently during the season because I’m a junior, and I have a lot of APs and all the other stuff that adds up during my junior year. Overall, I feel like I handled myself pretty well mentally.

I wasn’t super nervous or tense going into the matches. I kind of just took it a point at a time, and I wasn’t really overthinking as much.

We won everything in straight sets, so [there weren’t] any super nail-biting matches.

[Mia and I] have known each other for a while since we used to play at the same tennis club. We became really good friends last year, so the chemistry during the matches was fine. 

Our playing styles are very different, though. She’s a singles player, and I’m a mixed doubles player, which is, in my opinion, very different from girls’ doubles. So, it took a lot of adjusting to find a happy balance between us. 

Because Mia is really accustomed to playing singles, which are strictly baseline points, she is fearful of the net. I’m used to playing mixed doubles, which is a little different from girls’ doubles. 

It took a little work, but we got through.”

Junior Saachi Gupta returns a deep, high ball with a striking forehand. Gupta played alongside junior Mia Zilberman and won the girls’ doubles draw of the tournament, claiming the title of girls’ double district champions. (Keith Luo)
Junior Ellen Dai serves cross-court to her opponent during the opening match point. She played girls doubles alongside junior Shyla Jogi. The pair won second place in the girls doubles tournament.
Ellen Dai

“Honestly, I’m really happy that I got to go to districts. It doesn’t happen every year, and it’s a really good chance for me to play more tournaments. It’s a good challenge, and it’s nice knowing I get rewarded for the practice I put in.

On the last day of districts, I actually didn’t do as well as I wanted to, and I made some mistakes.

I have a hard time returning serves sometimes, but that is something I already know at least; that is something I struggle with, so hopefully, I can work on that before regionals. I want to not have any fears returning serves and not be insecure.

This happens every season for me, but especially this season. 

I worked on how confident I was because sometimes, I get insecure about whether or not I [can] actually return a ball or how I’m playing in practice because sometimes my confidence drops, and I don’t play 100% of what I am like in practice. 

I honestly think that is normal as no one plays like how they play in practice, and that’s okay, but I’ve learned how to work on that and focus not on the score but more on just playing the ball.

[This tournament] taught me how to think mentally and how to have a lot of mental confidence, but also this is developed through other stuff like me playing piano on stage and just all that mental stuff versus being able to play well in the actual tournament, where things matter that I developed.”

Junior Ellen Dai serves cross-court to her opponent during the opening match point. She played girls’ doubles alongside junior Shyla Jogi. The pair won second place in the girls’ doubles tournament. (Keith Luo)
Junior Jatin Presse returns a short ball close to the service line. Presse played in the boys doubles draw alongside senior Eli Vetrano.
Jatin Presse

“Districts this year went better than expected for me. While we did end up losing our second match against the team that won the tournament, I’m proud of how I played and gave it my all. 

After losing, the main thing to do was to cheer on our teammates, which ended up being somewhat stressful because you stress about how your teammates are doing, but I’m glad I got to stay after and support them.

I wouldn’t say this season was my best one. 

Throughout the season, I wasn’t playing at the top of my game; my shots were very inconsistent and weak. That’s why, going into districts, I was very nervous. 

However, that’s also why I was really excited when I started playing well against the people who were better than me by a long shot. I suppose it was the challenge that made me rise to the occasion.

This tournament taught me that I just need to be more confident in my shots. While it feels safer to hit a weak shot, it often screws up the stroke and ends up being even less consistent. 

In the future, I just need to have more confidence in my own shots, and I’ll do better than I expect.”

Junior Jatin Presse returns a short ball close to the service line. Presse played in the boys’ doubles draw alongside senior Eli Vetrano. (Keith Luo)
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