Tennis team swings into new season
April 23, 2012
Filed under Sports
The Ladue boys’ tennis team is ready for another successful season despite the loss of a few key seniors.
The Rams welcome a major change this season: they will be practicing at the old Westminster location, renamed West Campus. Senior Mike Walden sees some benefits from the new courts, despite the unusual windy conditions.
“The west campus tennis courts are fantastic,” Walden said. “They are really windy so that took some getting used to, but now we can use the wind to our advantage.”
The Rams have many keys to victory. They understand that to improve they need to give a good effort. Senior Drew Rubin knows what it takes to be victorious in the sport.
“As a team we just want to give 110% in every match,” Rubin said. “If we can stay focused and keep the positive energy up, we could beat some good teams.”
Adam Sansom, math teacher and tennis coach at Ladue for three years, stresses two major focuses in his practices. The first is playing high percentage shots or playing smart shots.
“I have the players in match scenarios a lot as a result of this,” said Sansom.
Another focus is for doubles players is to have an aggressive playing style. Sansom wants his players to focus on dominating the net during matches.
“Most of our drills and competitive games will contain an element of dynamic net play,” Sansom said.
Walden tries to lead by inspiration and gives speeches to motivate. His recent catchphrase of the week is, “Dare to Dream.”
Some factors lead people to believe that this could be one of Ladue’s best teams. Sansom raves about their polished fundamentals.
“Every player has a wide selection of strokes and tricks in their arsenal,” Sansom said.
In order to attain success, Sansom stresses knowledge of the sport. Being familiar with certain scenarios and having the right shots planned can help a player’s chances.
“My job is to make sure that their mental game is on par with their physical skills,” Sansom said.
The Rams hope to replace graduated senior and top player Adam Kopp. Walden looks to junior Eric Peters as a solution to fill the void that Kopp left.
“Eric Peters will be our top returning player and will be a strong leader on the courts,” Walden said.
In addition to Peters, the Rams have become even stronger adding sophomore Rony Wolfe and freshmen Austin Burton. Wolfe is currently second behind Peters in the line up and already has made a huge impact on the team.
“The two players have really upped our game,” Rubin said.
The loss of Kopp hurt the team greatly. Many have noticed that the singles line up has suffered the most due to his absence. However, Rubin believes the team will be able to rely on its doubles team to pick up the slack.
“Our doubles line up is as solid as ever,” Rubin said.
Three matches into the season thought and the Rams have yet to win a match due to an extremely tough schedule. However the matches were all close, all having been lost by one point. Wolfe notices that the 0-3 start is not as bad as it seems.
“In all three matches, the last game went to a third set tiebreaker,” Wolfe said.
The Rams look to use these losses as motivation and as a learning tool for the rest of the year. The team is eager to earn a couple of victories under their belt and build some momentum for the rest of the season.
“The first couple matches were tough, but we’re going to do better now,” Wolfe said.