The Hopkinton High School girls tennis team is tournament bound this spring even with a relatively young lineup leading the way, and coach Lyn Calkins said her squad’s mental fortitude has been crucial to its success.
“We have another young team, and my entire singles lineup graduated last year, so we have all new players in those roles,” Calkins said.
Freshman May Chen has been a huge find for the Hillers this spring. She has been playing in the No. 1 singles spot and is one of the hardest hitters on the team. Calkins said Chen’s improvement through the season has been palpable.
“She is really learning how to manage her tennis matches and how to control the match against her opponent,” Calkins said. “We are thrilled to have her on the roster and looking forward to having her playing for us for three more years.”
Senior captain Hailey Kessler is in the No. 2 singles spot. Calkins called Kessler a “scrappy player,” and said her performance has greatly improved after she was a doubles player for the past two seasons.
In the third singles spot, junior Roma Tewari has been a mainstay despite being relatively inexperienced.
“She has only been playing tennis for four years and she earned a singles spot in the lineup,” Calkins said, adding that Tewari has won more than a dozen matches. “She has really helped us get a lot of points.”
Hopkinton’s first doubles spot has been occupied by the team of Evanya Mathur, a junior captain, and Aarushi Kamara, a sophomore. The pair played second doubles last spring.
“They have faced some strong opponents, but they have really, really good chemistry together and they both love the sport of tennis,” Calkins said. “They are huge tennis fans, and they are very dedicated to the team.”
The second doubles team of sophomores Caitlin Mangan and Avery Michaud has made a sizable leap forward to the varsity level after playing on junior varsity in 2022.
“They improved on their net game and their strategy,” Calkins said. “They also have good chemistry. They jell really well together and they have a lot of fun playing together.”
Even though hers is a young team, Calkins said the players have brought a tremendous enthusiasm to the court.
“They are great teammates to each other, and we have been working on our mental toughness as a team,” the coach said.
Calkins said the team has been meeting with Namrata Mathur, Evanya’s mother, a certified life and leadership coach.
“She has been helping the girls with trying to deal with adversity during a match,” Calkins said. “Tennis is so much of a mental game, and we have been working on trying to deal with some of our fears during a match and to conquer those fears.”
Calkins said the focus for the girls has been making sure they do not get down on themselves if things go south while they are on the court.
“We want them to raise themselves up and win,” she said.