Boys’ tennis starts season with high hopes, new leaders


Ward Rentz-Baker

Senior and co-captain Alex Forbes-Roberts eyes down a shot during practice. Forbes, like the other captains, wishes to rekindle the chemistry the team had last year.

Ward Rentz-Baker

After a successful playoff run deep into the state finals last season, the boys tennis team expects to fight for the title once again during the  2022 season, this time under new leadership with new captains.

Last year, the team finished state runner-up for the second time in three seasons. Seniors Teddy Suazo and Alex Forbes-Roberts will fill the captain role. 

Coach Valerie Taylor believes that captains are a big part of high school tennis.

“Captains make a huge difference in tennis.” Taylor said, “They lead the pack, they chart the course, and they make the team either state champions or not state champions.”

Taylor looks especially to Suazo for leadership.

“Teddy and Alex are really leading the pack.” Taylor said, “They look to Teddy primarily for leadership. He’s a great leader.”

Suazo said this year’s team is not a copy of last year’s squad. 

 “This season we have a very different team than last year; there’s no telling what’s going to happen,” Suazo said. “I expect at to least make the playoffs, hopefully, make it to the championship again, maybe win it this year, who knows?”

Forbes-Roberts also sees a championship on the horizon.  

“This year our team is looking great, as good as it’s ever been,” Forbes-Roberts said.” [I expect] at least second in state, if not first.”

Forbes-Roberts thinks the team’s changes to its lineup will maintain, if not better the Knights’ chances in the playoffs.

“Our one singles is still the same; our one doubles is still the same; the only things that are changing are our two singles and our two doubles, and hopefully, for the better,” Forbes-Roberts said. “There’s just as good of a chance to win this year as any of the other years.”

Suazo has set performance goals for himself. Suazo finished last season undefeated in the regular season and has high expectations for his team. 

“My personal goals are to be undefeated throughout the regular season and the playoffs,” Suazo said. “However, as a team, it is to at least make it to the championship.”

Suazo is optimistic about the prospects of a championship.

“I think we will have the same success, if not better than last year,” Suazo said. “We have a lot of new faces, a lot of new talent that could make us a lot better than last year.”

One of those new faces is freshman Tyler Austin. Austin is experienced in the game, as he has been playing tennis for 12 years. Regardless, he feels the pressure from the veterans and their standards for the team.

“I do feel a little bit of pressure,” Austin said. “From what I can tell, the players that left the team did bring an impact to the team as a whole. Trying to be as good as them is definitely going to be a little bit of pressure. I’m confident enough in my play to live up to these expectations.

Suazo wants to rebuild chemistry that was lost with the departure of last year’s captains. He hopes the chemistry will provide a leg up against the competition.

“I think we’ll be able to build a lot more chemistry than we had last year, on the court and off the court,” Suazo said. “We’ll really see how we can use building chemistry to increase our success this year.”

Austin is ready to live up to the expectations set by last year’s team.

¨I think it’s going to be hard to live up to the expectations,” Austin said. “But, once we start playing together, it will be much easier.”