Spotlight: Boys Tennis

The 154 clubs, sports and activities available to students at Naperville North create special communities for all those involved. However, due to the many offerings, it may be difficult for students to find the right place for themselves, and even harder when some clubs and sports at NNHS are not well-known among the student body. However, some might just become a second home for many students. Next up in the spotlight is the boys tennis team.  

Boys tennis at Naperville North includes a varsity and junior varsity team both coached by P.E. teacher Heather Hendricksen. Uniquely, tennis features two types of play, doubles and singles, in which one or two players play on each side. In a match, players are aiming to win their individual match while simultaneously contributing to their team’s overall score and success. Senior captain Zachary Slade expresses the joy he feels supporting his teammates in their individual matches while also competing in his own.

“It’s an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport on the court. I’m a singles player and I’m competitive with myself but I also really enjoy supporting my teammates when I’m done with my match or looking over [a court] and giving a ‘Let’s Go Huskies’ and supporting them that way,” Slade said.

Tennis also provides players the opportunity to learn from each other. Whether they’re exchanging tennis tips on the court, or giving academic and social advice, it’s a rewarding learning experience and welcoming environment for all involved. On a team with majority upperclassmen, underclassmen get the opportunity to learn from their more experienced peers. Freshman Aarush Bhardwaj describes the most rewarding aspect of playing with upperclassmen.

“It’s been really good to get to know people and… a great experience to play with older people. I’ve gained lots of new knowledge that I didn’t know before about the game,” Bhardwaj said.

When playing singles, you’re required to make fast decisions without the aid of a coach or other players. You are essentially alone on the court, adjusting to the constant mental changes of the game. While this helps players grow their quick thinking and problem solving skills, it also presents challenges for many to work through problems mid-game. Junior Dovydas Jasinauskas explains why he struggles and how he overcomes the mental side of tennis.

“The most challenging aspect is being by yourself on the court… You’re just really in your own head and if you keep telling yourself you’re playing bad, you’re gonna start playing bad. But if you tell yourself you’re playing good, you’re gonna play good,” Jasinauskas said.

Like any team sport, players are able to grow close relationships with those who share a passion for the same sport. In tennis, they showcase this by supporting every player while they play their match and engaging in various team bonding activities. North players express their appreciation for their team’s bond and how it supports them beyond the court. Senior captain Nicolas Liu describes the strong relationships with his teammates that he’ll never forget. 

“These [guys] aren’t just fellow tennis players, these are friends. I talk to them, I hang out with them all throughout the year, not just when we’re in season. These are gonna be friendships that I remember forever,” Liu said.

Naperville North tennis provides an experience like no other sport as players learn to move past mental obstacles, improve their tennis skills on the court and connect with fellow students. If you’re looking for a chance to support or learn more about the tennis team, head to the NNHS athletic page.

“This team is one of the strongest bonded teams I’ve had in my three years of high school and I feel it creates a big difference. When you know that you have the rest of the team behind you and you know that they support you… it’s a really positive atmosphere,” Junior Akash Bansal said.