Netmen trust in fitness to conquer Inter-Ac foes

Adamya Aggarwal ’22 in a match against the Lawrenceville School – Communications

The tennis team knows a thing or two about winning. Coming off of eleven straight Inter-Ac titles, the team is filled with talented underclassmen. They are ready to compete.

“I’d love to win another Inter-Ac title. Make it twelve in a row. That’s my main goal, especially as a senior about to graduate high school,” Sixth Form co-captain Damian Ferraro said.

Still, Ferraro wants to win another title for the right reasons.

“But my biggest thing is to have a team with amazing chemistry and make that chemistry be the reason why we won our twelfth Inter-Ac,” Ferraro said. “Just have a great group of guys that I can look to whenever I need to beyond just tennis.”

Fostering team culture is of utmost importance to the team, which has a great number of talented underclassmen and even a Second Former playing for the team.

“We just have a lot of talent coming in from the underclassmen. Everyone’s really committed, and everyone really seems to love playing tennis,” Sixth Former Will Rubin said.

Last year we had a very close team and we had a lot of close chemistry. So at this point we’re kind of just building on that chemistry and bringing in the other kids.”

Damian Ferraro ’22

To create that team atmosphere, Ferraro focuses on bringing underclassmen into the team culture.

Last year we had a very close team and we had a lot of close chemistry. So at this point we’re kind of just building on that chemistry and bringing in the other kids,” Ferraro said. 

The upperclassmen make distinct efforts to integrate the younger kids.

“I remember last year when I was a junior, I would always try and go out of my way to include the sophomores, and the seniors above me would try to do the same with me,” Rubin said. “I just think it promotes a really really great team culture.”

This effort appears to be working, as team members report a high level of camaraderie.

“We’re all just boys, you know what I’m saying? We’re all mates,” Fifth Former Arnav Sardesai said.

“Coach [Antonio] Fink makes sure that we’re the fittest team in the Inter-Ac.”

Arnav Sardesai ’23

At one practice, the team was about to start playing matches, but it started raining, and they couldn’t use the courts. Not knowing whether or not to go back to Haverford or stay at the courts because of the rain, the team decided to start doing pull-ups on the tennis gate. 

“So everyone just started designating people to do pull-ups,” Ferraro said. “By the time we decided we were going to condition on the wet courts, most of the kids had done a couple pull-ups.”

It may be the excitement and levity with which the players approach working out that will allow the team to achieve their goal of being “the fittest team in the Inter-Ac.”

“We’re just a really well-connected team, and Coach [Antonio] Fink makes sure that we’re the fittest team in the Inter-Ac. So, that’s really important,” Sardesai said.

Coach Fink breaks down the huddle prior to the Fords 2021 Inter-Ac Championship victory – Courtesy of Jack Masse ’22

Fitness can be the factor that makes or breaks a match for some players. 

“It’s important for us, especially singles players, just to get that fitness down, that endurance, because once you get to the third set, the final tie break, it’s not even about your technique at that point, it’s really about your mental strength and how fit you are, if you can last on the court. So whoever can last as long as essentially wins,” Fifth Former Ethan Chan said.

Team members also focus on the mental aspect of the game.

“I think sometimes I can let the game get the best of me, and I can really just fall into a place where I’m playing matches where I’m just not my best,” Fifth Former Joaquin Arias said. “I think that’s one of my main focuses as well—just get stronger mentally.”

Author: Joey Kauffman '23

Joey Kauffman is an Editor-In-Chief for The Index for the 2022-23 school year. He previously served as a Managing Editor, where he won a Gold Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for his opinion piece “Start Language Learning in Lower School.” His review of the movie "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" also earned him second place in the Pennsylvania Press Club Annual High School Journalism Contest. In May of 2023, Joey’s features piece, “Controversy swirls around fan section nickname” won second place in the National Federation of Press Women High School Journalism Contest after winning the Pennsylvania competition.