Defending two state titles in a row,the RBHS boys tennis team heads into the Class 2 state tournament semifinals.
The team consists of many prodigious players, one of whom is freshman Rohit Rao. Rao is one of the few in RBHS boys tennis history to play on the varsity team his freshman year of high school.
Rao began his tennis experience during his early youth at seven years of age and started playing competitively at the age of 10. Rao also plans to continue his tennis endeavors past high school, he said.
“I chose tennis partly because I was heavily biased in a way. I’ve been playing it since I was young and I got attached to it earlier than other sports so I got stuck with it,” Rao said. “I’m planning to stick with it through the rest of my high school career, and I may play some in college.”
Rao’s family plays a large role in his tennis life, as Rao’s father sparked his first interest in tennis while his parents encourage him to keep setting goals for himself tennis-wise.
“Me and my dad used to hit together a lot until I started dominating him in tennis, so I used to play my dad a lot and my mom used to play it when I was a little kid,” he said. His parents “still want me to peruse tennis because it looks really good on college applications, and it is good for health wise.”
Rao invests many hours into his tennis game working to improve in whatever aspect he can Rao said. He took lessons to develop his strokes, and his off-season lessons take around three hours a week. Even with investing hours into the sport, Rao had some uncertain thoughts heading into this tennis season’s 2012 tryouts.
“I anticipated that I was going to play some wild jungle animals, such as Alexander Jones. I was very nervous. I mean, what if I lost to Ian Pole? I consider him decent; he’s an arriving varsity player,” Rao said. “All of the varsity players have definitely gotten better. Jones has gotten a lot better since last year. I figured that I was going to be at four [seed], and I did start at four.”
By Blake Becker