Tennis seniors leave behind a legacy

Tennis does not just take a physical toll on one’s body, but also a mental one. It requires willpower and time to finesse one’s skills, a fact very well known by the seniors on the tennis team. Through their years on the tennis team, seniors Andy Reddy, Brandon Ly, Jeffrey Sun and Akash Velu have learned how to hone in on their abilities while also paving the way for the tennis program to continue to ascend.

With talented players like Reddy and 2014 alumnus Ryan Shen raising expectations, the boys’ tennis team has reached new heights over the last few seasons.

“Last year, the varsity team defeated Westlake on the road, marking the first time that had happened in 32 years,” Sun said.

That was just one example of how the team made strides over the years, and now, Reddy believes the team has become even stronger than last season.

I think our tennis team has improved greatly as people have been working on their games throughout the year and are learning to be much more confident in their abilities,” Reddy said.

The team is led by coaches Richard Kick and William Mulligan, who have taught the athletes fundamentals of tennis such as the “kick serve” to bring Newbury Park back to prominence in the Marmonte League. The last two years, the team has placed third overall against powerhouses like perennial CIF contenders Westlake and Calabasas. This season, the team has higher aspirations.

“We all want to be the best and win every single game and this is shown in every match,” Ly, varsity doubles player, said.

From the start of the season, the coaches have preached boldness at the net and mental toughness to their players as sources of competitive edge.

“I think the thing that people enjoy most when they come out to watch matches is the energy and aggression that our players show when playing,” Ly said.

With the advice of the coaches and experience of seasoned seniors, the team has developed a newfound sense of confidence and focus on their style of play.

I think the team overall is less stressed about the results nowadays and focuses more on the way we play. We don’t get as nervous as we used to in tight situations, and most importantly, we aren’t afraid of the teams that were once ‘better than us,’” Reddy said.

This season, the team faced stiff competition, reaching a record of 9-4 with losses against Westlake, Calabasas and Agoura High Schools. The team also played a preseason match against Palos Verdes. Teams like Thousand Oaks and Agoura have also improved greatly, especially on the singles’ side, so it was crucial for the team to respond with singles’ players of their own like Reddy, who is currently ranked 17th in California and 107th nationally.

Since the age of 5, Reddy has played tennis and prepares himself for match days with hours of practice weekly. Reddy and others on the team play in outside competitions, like the Ojai tournament, in order to stay mentally sharp and be able to outlast opponents that share the same physical skillsets.

“Many people do think tennis is an easy sport; it is easy to learn, but very hard to compete. At a certain level, the sport consists of 10% skill and 90% mental game,” Reddy said.

As these seniors move on to college, the team intends to build on the foundation that they have established and continue to improve each season. All eyes are on the up-and-coming players such as sophomores Tommy Joseph, Regnar Madarang and Wally Thayne and junior Matthew Weymar to keep the boys competitive and write the next chapter in “Thundercats” history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *