Categorized | Features

Tennis In and Out of WHS

By Emily Kratzer, Classroom Manager of giantword.com

 

The WHS Men’s Tennis team excelled this year, being undefeated in conference, two particular students have stood out. Juniors Ben Toetz and Sonet Gandhi have devoted over 6 years to the sport, practicing everyday with coaches and even family.

 

How long have you been playing tennis? Do you play year round?

Gandhi: I’ve been playing the sport for over 6 years now and I certainly hope to keep playing for the years to come. During the season I usually practice everyday until November when the cold weather starts to hit. Even with the harsh conditions I still manage to practice indoors with my coaches. It all started with a fun summer camp that led me to quickly fall in love with the sport. I finished my sophomore year 10-2 in Conference 29 singles and this year I’m 12-3 in singles and counting overall. The best part about the sport isn’t about winning or losing against someone, but the fact that I get better every time I step out onto the court and for my love of Tennis.

Toetz: I do play year round. I try and play as much as I can over at AMC with Chad Reed. I play over there in the winter time and then play with my parents and practice with them all the time year round. I’ve been playing tennis since I was about 7 or 8.

 

How much time do you devote to tennis each week? How have you improved over the last year or so?

Gandhi: Many people think that tennis is not as aggressive and intense sport as other (sports) and they would be wrong. After 6 years of playing almost everyday I’m still not considered to be an amazing player. It’ll take years before I master every shot of the game. To play better in tournaments, I practice as hard as I play. After years of playing the sport I feel like I’m definitely advancing to a new level of the game, but not where I’m satisfied at.

 

Toetz: I try to practice as much as I can. Me and my mom will go out and practice as often as possible. And over the past year or so I have improved a lot with ground strokes! Much more than I usually do. It’s all because of practice and repetition.

What do you enjoy about tennis?

Gandhi: The thing that makes me keep going at this sport is my love of the game. If you play a sport that you don’t enjoy playing, you obviously shouldn’t be playing and practicing it.

 

Toetz: I enjoy the kind of people who play tennis. And how it’s a life long sport, so you never have to stop playing because of age.

 

What are your stats for the current season?

Gandhi: The WHS Men’s Tennis team put out an outstanding 12-4 regular season and undefeated in conference, going 10-0. My singles record was 12-3 and undefeated in doubles going 15-0.

 

Do you learn more from wins or losses?

Gandhi: Both. At the end of the day you judge yourself as if you don’t know what the results or the score was. That way, if you win, you have to ask yourself if you really played 100% that day or not. This is not something you can take into account in just tennis but almost every kind of sport.

 

Toetz: Both. When you win you know that what you were doing in that game is working and to keep doing that approach. When you lose, you want to learn from your mistakes and to practice on what you’ve lacked on.

 

Do you plan to continue with tennis after high school? How?

Gandhi: After my high school tennis career ends, I certainly hope it won’t be the end of my tennis career. After years of playing and practicing, I’ve decided that if I can receive the opportunity to play in college tennis, I will take that opportunity to enhance my game and take it to a new level with competition on my shoulders.  I’m not sure where tennis will take me from there, but I’m sure I’ll take tennis wherever I go.

 

Toetz: Yes! It would be a dream to play in college and to play outside of college in leagues and such.

 

Who is your tennis role model? Why?

Gandhi: My role model for tennis is 110% Rafael Nadal. One of the reasons I believed motivated me into this sport is because of him. I copy his ground strokes and try to do the same in a match.

 

Toetz: My parents. My mother was really good when she was my age, and she almost went professional. Both my parents are my best supporters. They always support me no matter If I won or lost. Then I would have to be Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

 

Do you think playing tennis outside of school gives you an advantage when it comes to playing on the school team? How?

Gandhi: Playing high school tennis is the first step towards competitive tennis. It’s always a pleasure to be able to play with my teammates because they pick you up when you’re down. High school tennis leads into May, and June is when summer tennis begins for me all the way to November.

 

Toetz: Yes. You get so much more practice. It helps your game of tennis big time. Especially when it’s raining and blowing out and you can still go play.

What are your tennis plans for the summer?

Gandhi: Summer tennis is a time period that I usually improve the most because I’m not focused on school and dedicate myself fully in trying to improve my game. Off season is when you want to practice for the big tournaments you play in. Playing 2-3 times a week isn’t my thing. I usually try to get the boys from the team together throughout the whole week and practice 2-3 hours per day.

 

Toetz: Practice, keeping in shape, and just getting repetition in from practicing so much.

 

From Coach Dewitt

How have Ben and Sonet improved since you’ve been their coach?

They’ve worked on their game a lot. Sonet plays all summer and takes lessons. He’s a well rounded player. Ben has also improved and is doing a good job as a server.

 

How do Ben and Sonet contribute to the team?

We have a very close team. Ben’s quite while Sonet is rambunctious, it’s a fun team to be around.

 

What are Ben and Sonet’s strongest qualities as players and teammates?

Ben and Sonet are good friends. Sonet has developed his own game. He’s able to do ground-strokes from both sides. He’s become a very well rounded, good high school tennis player. Ben has gotten better at serving and volleying.

 

Where do you see their tennis career taking them?

I see that they both could potentially play tennis in college.

 

What are your predictions for their senior year?

This year has been our best season yet, and Ben and Sonet keep getting better and better each year. I’m optimistic for another good season next year.

 

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