Despite rainouts and injuries, boys’ tennis team forges ahead

March 16, 2023 — by Daniel Wu and Aiden Ye
Courtesy of Emma Fung
Freshman Nikhil Srivatsa completes a forehand while warming up for a match against Los Altos
Recent rainstorms have delayed matches and forced a slower start to the season.

The boys’ tennis season has gotten off to a slow start due to inclement weather conditions. The Falcons, coached by Florin Marica, were originally set to face off against the Gunn Titans on Feb. 28 and the Mountain View Spartans on March 9. However, both matches were postponed due to heavy rain.

Senior captain and No. 2 doubles player Julian Berkowitz-Sklar mentioned that while the team has been unable to gain sufficient on-court practice, they have sought workarounds through asynchronous strength training.

As of mid-March, the team had played four matches, with a 4-3 loss against Los Altos on March 2, a 6-1 win against Homestead on March 7, a 5-2 win against Monta Vista on March 16, and a 7-0 loss against Cupertino on March 17. Two athletes — junior No. 1 doubles player Shrey Jain and Berkowitz-Sklar — on the 14-player team have been injured. Jain injured his leg during a Bombay in the Bay rehearsal and is unsure of when he will be able to play again. For the time being, his No. 1 doubles partner Samik Pattanayak is playing with junior Luke Stratakos, who normally plays No. 2 doubles. Berkowitz-Sklar has elbow tendonitis from a lingering basketball injury but hopes to rejoin the team within the next couple of weeks.

Berkowitz-Sklar noted that new additions No. 1 singles Somei Ogata and No. 2 singles Nikhil Srivasta, both freshmen, have been performing well.

“It’s very easy for freshmen to come into a new school’s varsity team and be immediately intimidated, but they are confident in their abilities and are really rising to the occasion,” Berkowitz-Sklar said.

Counteracting the influx of new talent, the team also experienced a major loss in former No. 1 singles player junior Kosei Ogata — the older brother of Somei Ogata — who is now being homeschooled as he is pursuing competitive tennis. Due to the time commitment, he isn’t able to play on the school team. However, he still provides tips and suggestions as team manager and continues to practice with the team.

“Once, there was a member on the team who had some shoulder pain and Kosei was able to walk over and provide corrections to their form, such as jumping higher on the serves and tossing the ball at a slightly different angle,” Berkowitz-Sklar said.

Despite the uncertainty of future matches due to the unusual spring rain, Berkowitz-Sklar is confident the team will deliver a strong performance this year.

“The team is really balanced, with a mix of experience and new talent, and regardless of the weather we’ll be ready to give it our all,” Berkowitz-Sklar said.

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