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Tennis tryouts soar in popularity, coaches cut players for JV teams

Melisa Atalay
Ela Gülener (’24) practices serving at practice April 12. Tennis tryouts took place over three days in four locations for boys and girls including Paddington Sports Club, Finchley Manor, Canons Park and Gladstone Park.

Student-athletes tried out for the girls and boys tennis teams March 13-14 and March 25 across London. Seventy-seven students signed up for tryouts, including 42 boys and 35 girls.

Director of Athletics John Farmer said due to the large amount of interest, coaches had to make cuts for both teams, something that he does not recount doing in previous years.

“We talk about participation being one of the absolute core tenets, and it’s in our mission of getting as many people playing sports as we possibly can,” Farmer said. “When we have to tell people, no, they can’t play that sport, it is sort of against what we want to do.”

World Languages Teacher Whitney Nuchereno, who coaches the varsity boys and girls team, said there are various factors that contribute to how players are selected for the respective teams. The main priority set by coaches has been related to players’ abilities to perform in high-pressure moments.

“Results are big,” Nuchereno said. “You can hit a ball really well, you can have a great forehand, but if you don’t know how to use it and you don’t know how to incorporate tactics into match play, then no one gives you a best forehand award at ISSTs. It’s how you perform.”

Furthermore, Lily Rose Aysoy (’26), who has played on the varsity tennis team since Grade 9, said she noticed a considerable increase in players with different abilities at tryouts.

“All the girls at tryouts are very driven and, I mean, I could tell they’re determined to make JV or even varsity,” Aysoy said. “I think [for] tryouts this year, we had a really big mix of levels and skills.”

Likewise, Ela Gülener (’24), who has been on the varsity tennis team since Grade 10, said she noticed an increase in underclassmen at tryouts, especially Grade 9 athletes.

“It’s very exciting to see freshmen coming in because a lot of them just bring new talents to the team as well as a dynamic energy,” Gülener said. “Especially as a senior, it’s great to see more freshmen because of the age difference.”

Gülener also said the girls played in doubles matches to demonstrate their abilities, which is unprecedented because of the high attendance during tryouts.

I think winning is important, but winning and having integrity is the best that we can hope for.

— Tennis Coach Whitney Nuchereno

“There’s just a lot more diversity getting in, and what I really appreciate about this year’s tryouts is I think, like, we’re more focused on getting diverse players,” Gülener said. “I think there’s more emphasis on, like, what role you will play in the team.”

In addition, Aysoy said there has been a wide range of players in terms of skill level.

“We had some people that have never played tennis before or played very little, and then we had players that are super experienced and really good,” Aysoy said.

Moreover, Nuchereno said she hopes the team can perform similarly to past years in terms of both performance and sportsmanship.

“They call tennis a gentleman’s sport, and unfortunately, you don’t always see that in the sport,” Nuchereno said. “I think winning is important, but winning and having integrity is the best that we can hope for.”

Overall, in the ambition of this year’s team having good chemistry, Aysoy also said she hopes the team can bond well despite tennis being less of a collaborative sport.

“Tennis is a very individual sport, and it gets very competitive, so you don’t often see players that have amazing attitudes and like team spirit,” Aysoy said. “Hopefully, the girls’ team and boys’ team this year will, like, have a lot of chemistry together. I think that’s super important.”

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About the Contributors
Meher Sareen, Reporter
Meher Sareen ('27) is a Reporter for The Standard in Journalistic Writing.
Melisa Atalay, Reporter
Melisa Atalay ('27) is a Reporter for The Standard in Journalistic Writing.

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