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’Resiliency’ defines HHS boys tennis team

by | May 27, 2024 | Sports

Joe Krattenmaker

Joe Krattenmaker has been playing No. 1 singles as a freshman. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

The Hopkinton High School boys tennis team came into the 2024 season with only one returning player from last year’s starting lineup and facing a schedule that included two of the top teams in the state. But the Hillers have not let that slow them down, winning their first 11 matches in Tri-Valley League play and dominating with a revamped roster.

“The season is going great, I think we are probably right about where we thought we would be,” coach Mike Miller said in mid-May. “We knew there was going to be a lot of parity with this team and a lot of juggling and shuffling around in different positions.”

After some roster mixing and matching earlier in the year, Miller said the team settled on a lineup heading into the final matches of the regular season.

Freshman Joe Krattenmaker stepped into the No. 1 singles role. Miller said that “resiliency” is the word that defines his team, and that includes the young player.

“Sometimes, when you have a freshman come in, you don’t know how they are going to handle it when they are used in tough matches, but he has handled it well,” Miller said. “Not every point is going to go your way, but for a freshman to bounce back and have that ‘never say die’ attitude is great.”

Krattenmaker has been winning his fair share of matches and learning from his setbacks, Miller said. He’s been followed by Rishit Shekhar, the lone returner from last year’s lineup.

“It’s been fun to see his transition from doubles to singles, it is a big transition,” Miller said. “He has turned into a much better singles player than he was at the beginning of the year.”

Ilian Glace is playing third singles for the Hillers. Hopkinton also fields a pair of strong doubles tandems. Kais Guessab and Sooraj Sambasivam play at the top singles spot, while Anay Pachori and Prithvi Venkatesh have held down the second doubles position.

Miller said the team is not focused on any particular goals, like winning the TVL or success in the state tournament. He said that, “as cliche as it sounds, we go from practice to practice and match to match and we do not look too far forward.”

“Some of our best competition is in our practices,” he added.

Hopkinton has been tested in dual matches. The Hillers’ only two losses heading into the final week of the season came against Weston, one of the best teams in New England, and Wayland, the defending state champion.

“We play those teams that are really strong, and it helps us get ready going forward,” Miller said, adding that the team’s resilient theme has shown in its setbacks.

“I think about the losses that we had, the kids just bounced back the next day,” he said, “whether it was having the best practice that we have had or the best match we had played. They just keep their heads up, and they keep plowing forward.”

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