One of the hidden gems of Haverford athletics is its tennis team, which has been able to sustain success for a vast reign of Inter-Ac superiority, winning ten consecutive titles.
This year the team seeks to continue its success even with inconvenient restrictions in place. Among other things, the team has had to practice at Baldwin for two years now due to the presence of Virtue Village, the mobile classrooms that reside on the tennis courts.
However, team members recognize the sport’s unique ability to be played almost as normal regardless of this year’s health protocols.
Fifth Former Adamya Aggarwal said, “Luckily for us, not too much has changed in our practices and matches except for the required mask and the additional effort to stay socially distant.”
“We continue to practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and keeping a six-foot distance from one another during practice and matches,” Sixth Former Max Ferracci said.
Given that the team has grown accustomed to playing a little further from home than usual and has adjusted quickly to restrictions, it is no surprise that it has gotten off to the usual and expected dominant start.
“The team has started off the season strong at 3-0,” said Sixth Form Captain Patrick Bottin. “All of our matches so far have been decisive wins.”
Perhaps a reason for the team’s record in a congested and irregular season is the coaching philosophy revolving around fitness.
“Physical fitness generates mental toughness needed to prevail in contested matches,” Head Coach Mr. Antonio Fink said. “Fitness has been the key to our success for more than a decade. Everybody knows how to play. Our focus is to develop endurance, core strength, and a quicker first step.”
His players tend to agree, and more importantly see these results.
“As Coach Fink always says, the reason we are always the most successful team of the Inter-Ac is because we are the fittest. If we can stay physically tough, we can stay mentally tough because we know we can outlast our opponents,” Aggarwal said.
“When we do fitness, it is preparing us for longer and more intense matches,” Ferracci said, “so in that final set, we can be the team that is more ready for the moment.”
Morale is even more important in a season where social interaction among the team is difficult to promote.
“At these matches, the team spirit is through the roof. When players are done [with] their matches, they don’t leave; they loudly cheer on their teammates who are still playing.”Adamya Aggarwal ’22
Aggarwal said, “At these matches, the team spirit is through the roof. When players are done [with] their matches, they don’t leave; they loudly cheer on their teammates who are still playing.”
While Coach Fink noted that there is not exactly a formal Inter-Ac title to compete for this year as of yet, the team is confident in its superiority.
“If our team continues to practices hard and work more than the other teams in the Inter-Ac,” Ferracci said, “I truly think we can win ourselves an eleventh straight Inter-Ac title.”