Many may not know him because this year is his first and last and Haverford, but Sixth Former Andrew Minnis is a force to be reckoned with in any racket sport. After playing near the top of the ladder for the undefeated Haverford varsity squash team this winter, Minnis moved on to tennis, where he is also at the top as the second-highest-ranked player on the team.
His success in the two sports and his smooth transition between the two comes from his background as an athlete and the team’s approach to practice.
“Tennis used to be my main sport until probably seventh or eighth grade, but I haven’t really played seriously since then, but this transition in school has been easy,” Minnis said. “We had this month-long period at the beginning of the season where we didn’t have any matches, so because of that we all got to practice, we all kind of found our games.”
“As a team captain, he gets us all motivated, cheers for us, cheers for everyone while playing, and we can cheer for him while he’s playing.”Adamya Aggarwal ’22
The tennis team has had great results this season, with only two Inter-Ac losses to Germantown Academy and Episcopal so far. Contributing to this success is the strong chemistry between the players, built during the hard practices and in part through Minnis’ contributions.
“As a team captain, he gets us all motivated, cheers for us, cheers for everyone while playing, and we can cheer for him while he’s playing,” Fifth Former Adamya Aggarwal said. “I think that’s the real important team dynamic he brings out in us and we bring out in him.”
Besides his ability to rally the team, Minnis contributes with the wins he gets over the opposing team through his unorthodox play. He uses techniques from squash often in his tennis matches and puts the ball in strange places, a game strategy that almost always results in triumphs and flustered opponents.
“[Last week], he beat the EA one singles, and apparently in between one of the points the EA kid was like: ‘What is this tennis?’” Aggarwal said.
“The tennis team was just an opportunity for me to meet more people in all the grades and then just to have a good time for my last semester as a high schooler.”Andrew Minnis ’21
But the success Minnis has had on the team is not the reason he joined. As someone who came to Haverford for their last year of high school, his goal was to meet as many people as possible.
“I met a ton of kids on the squash team, and I loved interacting with all of them,” Minnis said. “And so I think the tennis team was just an opportunity for me to meet more people in all the grades and then just to have a good time for my last semester as a high schooler.”
The season has not disappointed, and the only key difference from last year is the mask-wearing requirement when playing. Matches and practices are still in full swing, and the team is gearing up for the Inter-Ac tournament. And at each Haverford match, Minnis will make sure no point goes uncheered for.
“In games, he’s always very loud for cheering,” Aggarwal said. “You can hear him across the courts as he’s cheering for you in a match.”
Minnis also keeps his teammates motivated when they lose a point, shouting, ‘Come on, get the next one’ or ‘Keep your head up’ right next to the fences surrounding the courts. He makes sure his presence is known, whether he’s baffling opponents on the court or getting rowdy on the sidelines.