“Love” means nothing in tennis. More specifically, it means a score of zero.
However, Girls Varsity Tennis deserves nothing but the right kind of love for their hard work and grit this season.
“Tennis is 90 percent mental. If you’re not mentally tough, it’s gonna grind you down to nothing,” Varsity Tennis head coach John Tichy said. “Every point matters in high school tennis—every game matters.”
In this unique team sport where individuals compete towards the overall team points, each player faces off in their own games to fight for their set. Though both are under equal pressure to win with a large differential, approaches differ slightly between singles and doubles.
“I prefer singles because I like having full control over the outcome of the game,” junior Astriti Dihingya said.
The first shot—the serve— is the most important, and key for winning points, especially in singles. Keeping your eye on the ball and your feet moving, as well as watching for the opponent’s weak areas are also fundamental, vital things to remember amongst the myriad of strategies used in tennis.
“This year, I switched to doubles and moved up to varsity, and it has definitely been a totally different experience,” senior Mansi Achuthan said. “Communication is definitely something that many people struggle with; you need to be able to let your partner know whether you can get the shot or you need them to cover for you.”
An extra player requires extra coordination and teamwork, quite literally pushing the boundaries of the court.
“I prefer to play doubles because there is more critical thinking involved,” senior Emily Uh said. “The net player plays a key role in winning points, and overall it is nice to be able to work together with your partner.”
With an undefeated 7-0 record in preseason and only three losses so far in season, the team has already achieved their annual goal of making it to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff.
“We are excited about our wins, but we always look to the future and see what there is to improve on, as we do with losses,” varsity doubles captain senior Michelle Kroll said. “Always believe that you can win because if you hype yourself up enough, you can rise to the occasion and surprise yourself, often beating teams that you never thought you would.”